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There were walkoff wins, blowouts and rainouts involving American League contenders Friday.
Two of the division leaders in the AL lost Friday night; the other won, but kept just a slim lead; no AL team has yet clinched a playoff spot.
Yankees 2, Athletics 1, 10 innings: In a tightly-played game involving two teams in tightly-played playoff races, it was a man who came into the game hitting .205 who won it. Russell Martin, the Yankees catcher who's had a rough offensive season, homered leading off the 10th inning off Sean Doolittle to give New York the win. That was after Yankees closer Rafael Soriano had just his fourth blown save of the year, also giving up a solo home run, to Brandon Moss with one out in the ninth. Ichiro Suzuki continued his hot September, going 2-for-3.
Orioles 4, Red Sox 2: In 2011, it was Baltimore ruining Boston's playoff hopes at season's end. This year, the Orioles went into Fenway Park with their own playoff run at stake -- and they kept pace with the Yankees by defeating the Red Sox. Matt Wieters drove in three runs and Jim Johnson set an Orioles team record by posting his 46th save.
Angels 6, White Sox 2: The White Sox ran into the proverbial buzzsaw, and his name was Ervin Santana. Santana struck out 11 in seven strong innings, giving up just two hits. One of them was a home run leading off the game by Alejandro De Aza, but that was the only run the ChiSox scored off Santana. Meanwhile, the Angels pounded eight hits off Jake Peavy in five innings, including a home run by Kendrys Morales. Later, Mike Trout hit his 28th homer of the season, as the Angels kept pace in the AL wild-card race.
Tigers, Twins rained out: The Tigers gained half a game in the AL Central race with the White Sox loss, but now they must play a doubleheader Sunday to make up Friday's game, postponed due to heavy rains in the Detroit area. The Twins and Tigers will also play Saturday afternoon.
Mariners 6, Rangers 3: Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre both missed this game -- Hamilton is out for the series -- and it showed as Texas struggled to put together offense. Seattle's Hishashi Iwakuma threw seven solid innings and Texas starter Martin Perez struggled. With the Athletics' loss to the Yankees, Texas' magic number to clinch the AL West was reduced to nine.
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Rays 12, Blue Jays 1: It's still a long shot for Tampa Bay, but they made it known Friday night that they're not giving up in the wild-card race, staying within 4½ games of the Athletics for the second spot. James Shields threw seven shutout innings for the Rays and homers by Ben Zobrist and Jose Molina led a 16-hit attack for the host Rays, who also had three hits each from Evan Longoria and Jeff Keppinger.
Up next: All of the above series continue Saturday; the A's, Yankees, Orioles and Tigers will play afternoon contests, while the White Sox, Rays and Rangers will have their games in the evening.