Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
All the A.L. races kept pace Friday night... and some got closer. Here are all the pertinent facts.
With just five games to go in the regular season, not one of the A.L.'s five playoff spots has been wrapped up; eight teams still have a chance, and no trailing team is more than three games out of any of the spots. We could be headed for quite a wild finish.
Orioles 9, Red Sox 1: The Reds' Homer Bailey got all the attention Friday night for his no-hitter against the Pirates, but Baltimore's Chris Tillman nearly matched Bailey's feat against Boston. Tillman allowed a bunt single to Scott Podsednik leading off the game -- and that was the only hit the Red Sox got. Podsednik went to second on an error and was sacrificed to third; he scored on a sac fly. After that, Tillman and Troy Patton allowed just two walks and one other runner to reach on an error, while their Orioles teammates were pounding out 12 hits. A six-run first inning highlighted by homers from Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty put the game away early for Baltimore.
Yankees 11, Blue Jays 4: The Yankees began their final road series of the season with a convincing win at Toronto. Russell Martin continued his hot September with a three-run homer, his 20th; he now has six home runs and 16 RBI this month. Eric Chavez also homered for the victorious Yankees, who didn't get a great outing from Hiroki Kuroda (5⅓ innings, 10 hits, two runs), but didn't need great pitching given their 13-hit barrage off seven Blue Jays hurlers.
White Sox 3, Rays 1: Both teams desperately needed to win to keep their hopes of postseason play alive, and it was the host ChiSox who came out on top, thanks to Alex Rios' 25th home run and some solid work from the bullpen after Gavin Floyd struggled with his command (issuing five walks in five innings). The Chicago bullpen held Tampa Bay to two baserunners (one hit and one walk) over the last four innings to nail down the win; Addison Reed posted his 29th save.
Twins 4, Tigers 2: The Tigers had a game shaved off their A.L. Central lead and now are just a game ahead of the White Sox with five remaining, after an eighth-inning, two-run double by Minnesota's Ryan Doumit gave the Twins the win. Detroit had been shut out by Scott Diamond for the first seven innings, but an error by Trevor Plouffe allowed Austin Jackson to reach base with one out in the eighth. The next hitter, Omar Infante, homered to tie the game, but Doumit's double in the bottom of the inning sealed the Minnesota victory.
Angels 7, Rangers 4: The Rangers' magic number to clinch the A.L. West remained at three after a loss to the visiting Angels, Texas' fourth defeat in their last five games. (Hint: this is not the way you want to go into the postseason.) Jered Weaver posted his 20th win for the Halos, becoming the first American Leaguer to that mark this year, throwing seven strong innings; he was backed up by an 11-hit attack that featured homers from Mike Trout and Chris Iannetta. Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre homered in a losing cause for the Rangers.
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Athletics 8, Mariners 2: The A's held on tight to the second wild-card spot, moved to within one game of the top wild-card position, and sneaked to within three games of first place in the A.L. West with their win over the visiting Mariners. Just 16,376 showed up at O.co Coliseum to see the A's win, which was led by Coco Crisp, who had three hits and his 11th home run of the season, a fine performance after Crisp hadn't started in 10 days due to the effects of pinkeye. Stephen Drew also went deep for the victorious A's.
Up next: All of the above series continue Saturday; the Rays/White Sox, Tigers/Twins and Angels/Rangers games will be featured at 4 p.m. ET as Fox-TV's regional Saturday games. You can find the game in your region here. The Yankees and Blue Jays play in Toronto at 1 p.m. ET and the Orioles and Red Sox have an evening affair at Camden Yards at 7 p.m. ET.