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Baseball-Highlights of Friday's Major League Baseball games

Reuters

Sept 20 (The Sports Exchange) - Highlights of Friday's Major League Baseball games:

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Rays 5, Orioles 4

Tampa Bay outlasted the Baltimore Orioles in an epic encounter that finally ended at 2.08 a.m. local time when the Rays scored in the bottom of the 18th inning.

David DeJesus led off the game and nearly seven hours later ended it, knocking in the winning run with one out to delight the home fans - at least those that were still awake.

It was the longest game in Rays and Orioles history by time (6 hours, 54 minutes) and for Tampa Bay in innings.

The 21 pitchers used collectively set a major league record. The 11 used by the Rays tied the major league mark.

The game was crucial for both teams, who are seeking wild-card berths in the American League.

The win takes Tampa to the top of the wild-card race, half a game ahead of Cleveland, while the cruel loss drops Baltimore 2 ½ behind Cleveland.

The Tampa players won't have much time to celebrate, as the teams will be back in action again less than 11 hours after finishing their marathon encounter.

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Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 3

The Boston Red Sox completed their amazing turnaround from worst to first when they beat the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Friday.

Jon Lester threw seven strong innings for his 100th career victory as the Red Sox clinched just their second American League East title since 1995.

Boston's last AL East crown came in 2007, when it went on to win the World Series. One year ago, the Red Sox were at the tail end of a dismal 69-win season, the franchise's worst since 1966 (72-90).

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Tigers 12, White Sox 5

Max Scherzer became the first 20-game winner of the MLB season and Torii Hunter drove in three runs with four hits to help the Detroit Tigers reduce their division-clinching magic number to three with a decisive victory over the Chicago White Sox in near-constant rain.

Scherzer (20-3) was making his fifth bid for his 20th victory and had just one perilous inning after the first, leaving the bases loaded in the fifth. He worked six innings, allowing six hits, one walk and three runs.

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Indians 2, Astros 1 (7)

The Cleveland Indians scored two unearned runs and had an assist from the weather to beat the Houston Astros in a game that was called after a one-hour, nine-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh inning.

The win improved Cleveland's record to 84-70. The Indians are second in the race for the two AL wild-card spots, half a game behind Tampa.

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Royals 2, Rangers 1

Alcides Escobar drew a four-pitch walk with two out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Texas Rangers 2-1.

The Rangers, who have lost 14 of 18 September games, dropped a half-game behind Cleveland in the AL wild-card standings. The Royals are 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland with nine games remaining.

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Yankees 5, Giants 1

Alex Rodriguez hit a tiebreaking grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the New York Yankees to victory over the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium.

Rodriguez entered his pivotal at-bat against reliever George Kontos with one hit in his previous 25 at-bats and his batting average down to .255.

Two pitches after missing a fastball, he sent a 92 mph fastball into the front rows of the right-center field seats.

It was Rodriguez's seventh home run since last month's return from a second hip surgery and his 24th grand slam, breaking a tie with Yankee Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig for the most all-time.

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Athletics 11, Twins 0

The Oakland Athletics are on the verge of celebrating their second straight American League West championship after routing the Minnesota Twins.

If Oakland beats the Twins again on Saturday and the Texas Rangers lose to the Kansas City Royals, the Athletics can pop the corks.

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Angels 3, Mariners 2

The Los Angeles Angels scored in the bottom of the 11th inning to edge the Seattle Mariners in a game between two teams who can't make the playoffs.

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Cardinals 7, Brewers 6 (10)

Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly drove in the winning run as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers to go two games clear at the top of the National League Central.

With the score tied 4-4 going into the ninth inning, the Cardinals took a two-run lead on Matt Adams' 15th homer of the season. Milwaukee came back in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-6 before succumbing in the 10th.

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Reds 6, Pirates 5 (10)

The Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven't been to the postseason since 1992, suffered a heartbreaking loss when they blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning as the Cincinnati Reds pulled off an unlikely victory.

Joey Votto won it with a home run in the 10th as the Reds moved into a tie with the Pirates in second place in the National League Central.

Playing in their most important late-season game since '92, the Pirates took a 5-2 lead into the ninth and were one out from winning when a throwing error by shortstop Jordy Mercer opened the door for the Reds.

The Reds and Pirates, both 88-66, are now tied at the top in the race for the two National League wild-card playoff berths.

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Nationals 8, Marlins 0

Jordan Zimmermann pitched a two-hit shutout against the Miami Marlins to secure his fifth career complete game as host Washington Nationals posted their 12th victory in 14 outings.

After going scoreless for five innings, the Nationals scored seven runs in the sixth inning. They are five games behind Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the NL race with eight games left.

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Braves 9, Cubs 5

The Atlanta Braves are on the verge of locking up the National League East title after beating the Chicago Cubs.

The Braves got their 91st win in the opener of the three-game series at Wrigley Field. They also cut their magic number to clinch the East to one as they broke a 5-5 tie with four runs in the ninth.

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Mets 6, Phillies 4

The New York Mets ended Cole Hamels' run of quality starts, as they beat the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hamels, who entered the game with 10 straight quality starts and had a 2.32 ERA in his last 14 outings, was tagged for five runs in his first four innings and yielded six runs overall as the Mets (69-84) provided starter Daisuke Matsuzaka with a healthy lead.

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Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 4

The Colorado Rockies hit four home runs and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in a game between two teams out of playoff contention. The Rockies took the lead with four runs in the sixth inning.

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Padres 2, Dodgers 0

Jedd Gyorko homered and San Diego starter Robbie Erlin delivered a strong performance as the Padres beat a second-string Los Angeles Dodgers.

A day after clinching the National League West title, manager Don Mattingly didn't start any of his eight starting position players.

- - - (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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