Despite a short slate of games Monday, the streaking White Sox padded their lead in the AL Central, and the Orioles halved their deficit in the East. Here are Monday's key games in the chase for October.
Orioles 10, Mariners 4: This was over before it got started. Nate McLouth led off the game with a homer, and the Orioles added a pair of runs off the bats of Mark Reynolds and Manny Machado before the Mariners even got a chance to bat. In all, Seattle starter Hector Noesi was thrashed for seven runs in 1⅓ innings, giving up eight hits and two walks while recording only one strikeout. Matt Wieters and Adam Jones added three hits apiece, with Wieters popping his 22nd home run of the year. Chris Tillman fired six innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and striking out four. Look on the bright side, Mariners fans: Michael Saunders and John Jaso hit homers.
White Sox 5, Tigers 4: With Chicago down by a run in the fifth inning, Alex Rios slid hard into Detroit second baseman Omar Infante to break up a double play. It did more than that; Infante made an errant throw to first baseman Prince Fielder, allowing Adam Dunn to score the tying run and Paul Konerko to cross the plate with the go-ahead run. Rios continued to state his case as top comeback player by contributing a 2-for-3 effort, while teammate DeWayne Wise was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Fielder and Delmon Young each had a pair of hits in the contest, with Young driving in three runs. It was not a well-pitched game by either side; both starters, Doug Fister and Jose Quintana, were bounced after four innings, and both allowed at least four earned runs and seven hits.
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Red Sox 5, Rays 2: Alex Cobb carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury had other ideas, depositing a two-run homer in the right-field stands and giving the Red Sox a 2-1 edge over the Rays. The Sox added three runs in the seventh inning, two of which came on pinch-hitter Mauro Gomez's pinch-hit single off reliever J.P. Howell. Ellsbury finished 3-for-5 with three RBI, and James Loney went 2-for-4. B.J. Upton collected three hits for the Rays and scored a run. Aaron Cook earned the win for Boston, going six innings while allowing five hits and one run.
Both the Rangers and Athletics were idle on Monday.
Up next: There are no matinées, but some big games in the evening. In the AL East, Andy Pettitte will return to a major-league mound for the first time since he broke his ankle as the Yankees battle the Blue Jays in the Bronx. Meanwhile, the Orioles and Rays continue their battles with the Mariners and Red Sox. The Angels will have a chance to climb up both the West and wild-card standings when they lock heads with the Rangers, and the Athletics host the Tigers. The White Sox should be able to distance themselves in the Central as they open their series with the Royals.