A.L. Playoffs Chase: Wednesday-Morning Update

Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pedro Ciriaco celebrates with second baseman Dustin Pedroia after scoring the winning run during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

The Orioles pulled even with the Yankees in the AL East and the Athletics maintained their winning streak and Wild Card lead with a one-run win over the Angels.

A.L. East W L
Yankees 79 62 -
Orioles 79 62 -
Rays 77 64 2

Two huge AL East series started Tuesday night, and the Orioles quickly pulled back to even with the Yankees as they held off the Rays in Baltimore. The Tigers evened up their series in Chicago, setting up a key final two games on the South Side. And the Athletics continued their red-hot play in Anaheim. Here's what happened in the AL on Tuesday night:

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: Jon Lester issued seven walks in 5⅓ innings on Tuesday night, but the Yankees could not make him pay. Derek Jeter finally came through in the sixth with a ground-rule bloop double down the right-field line that scored two and gave the Yankees a brief one-run lead. But Dustin Pedroia evened things up in the bottom half of the inning to send one over the monster and knot things up at 3-3. The Sox threatened to break the tie on several occasions, but did not break through until the bottom of the ninth against David Robertson. Jacoby Ellsbury, who celebrated his birthday with a four-hit night, ripped a walk-off single through the hole to right. Ichiro charged the ball and fired a perfect strike to the catcher but the speedy Pedro Ciriaco came in easily from second to end the game. The loss knocked the Yankees out of sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Orioles 9, Rays 2: Baltimore pulled back into a tie for first place in the AL East with a blowout win over the Rays. It wasn't all positive for Buck Showalter's team, however, as starter Jason Hammel left the game in the fourth inning with a knee injury. But five relievers kept the Rays in check over the final 5⅓ innings, ensuring the O's comfortable lead held up. J.J. Hardy had a monster night at the dish, going 4 for 4 with five RBIs. He blasted a pair of two-run homers into the left-field seats at Camden. The Rays are still two games back in both the AL East and Wild Card standings.

A.L. Central W L
White Sox 76 65 -
Tigers 74 67 2

Tigers 5, White Sox 3: Doug Fister gave up solo homers in the first and third inning, but those would be the only hits he'd allow in seven innings of work. Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera both went deep off Jake Peavy in the fifth to put the Tigers ahead for good. The Sox used seven pitchers in the crucial AL Central matchup, but a two-run Tigers rally against Francisco Liriano in the eighth added some much-needed insurance and secured Detroit the win. The Tigers are now two games back with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander left to pitch the final two games of the series on the South Side.

A.L. West W L
Rangers
84 57 -
Athletics
81
60 3

Rangers 6, Indians 4: Texas took care of business against the free-falling Tribe, putting a four-spot on the board early against Ubaldo Jimenez. It was Cleveland's first trip of the season to Texas and three errors certainly didn't aid their cause against the Rangers lineup. Adrian Beltre went 2 for 5 and hit his 31st homer of the season. Matt Harrison pitched into the sixth inning to pick up his 16th. The Indians rallied in the eighth to make things interesting, but Joe Nathan cleaned things up in the ninth to preserve the win, which keeps the Rangers three games up in the AL West

Athletics 6, Angels 5: Oakland picked up its fifth straight win, keeping pace with the Rangers in the AL West and maintaining a two-game lead over the second Wild Card. It was a dramatic ninth-inning as the A's converted a game-ending double play with the tying run on third base. In the top half of the inning, it appeared Coco Crisp hit a two-run inside-the-park homer but Torii Hunter was credited with a questionable error as he tried to cut off the ball as it rattled around the right-field corner. Those two runs would end up being decisive insurance, as the Angels responded with a two-run rally of their own against Grant Balfour. But Jerry Blevins came in to get the save, inducing a double play to end it.

A.L. Wild Card W L
Athletics
81
60 -
Orioles / Yankees 79 62

-

Rays 77 64 2
Angels 77 65
Tigers 74 67
5

Next Up: The Red Sox and Yankees continue their three-game set at Fenway, with a September clash between David Phelps and Aaron Cook. The Rays try to keep pace in Baltimore before a weekend series at Yankee Stadium. Chicago and Detroit continue their four-game set with the Tigers trying to close the gap to one game before the Verlander-Sale finale. The Rangers will look to keep distance between themselves and the hard-charging A's with the second game of their series against the lowly Indians. The hottest team in the game, the Athletics, continus its series in Anaheim.

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