Twins win, then clinch with A's help
MINNEAPOLIS — No need for a 163rd game in the AL Central division this year.
The Minnesota Twins have this baby wrapped up with plenty of time to spare.
Denard Span's RBI-single highlighted a four-run eighth inning to rally the Twins to a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
The thrilling, come-from-behind win coupled with the Chicago White Sox's 7-2 loss in Oakland made the Twins the first team in the majors to clinch a division title this season, doing it with 11 games to go.
The Twins lost to the White Sox in Game 163 in 2008 to miss out on the postseason, then capped a rally from seven games down in September last year by beating the Detroit Tigers in a one-game playoff to get in. But they didn't have much energy left after the exhausting run and were swept by the Yankees in the first round.
Reliever Justin Masterson (6-13) allowed three runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning for the Indians.
Jim Thome hit a solo homer and Danny Valencia had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who got manager Ron Gardenhire his 800th career win despite being stymied by Indians starter Fausto Carmona for the first five innings.
Athletics 7, White Sox 2
OAKLAND, Calif. — Trevor Cahill pitched eight solid innings for his team-leading 17th win and Oakland sent Chicago to its eighth consecutive loss and hand the AL Central title to the Minnesota Twins.
Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington drove in two runs apiece for the A's, who pounded out 13 hits off Chicago starter Mark Buehrle (12-12) and one reliever.
Omar Vizquel had two hits for the White Sox, who have lost 12 of 14 overall. Minnesota rallied to beat Cleveland 6-4 and became the first team to clinch a postseason spot when it secured the division with Chicago's loss.
One day after Gio Gonzalez and three relievers combined on a four-hit shutout, Cahill (17-7) dominated the White Sox through eight innings by himself.
He retired 12 of the first 14 batters before Alexei Ramirez doubled leading off the fifth. Ramirez scored on Brent Morel's groundout and Chicago added another run in the sixth but that was it.
|Yankees 8, Rays 3|
NEW YORK (AP) — Nick Swisher homered off James Shields (13-13) to key a five-run burst in the first inning and New York opened a 2½-game lead over the Rays in the AL East.
The Yankees cut their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three over Boston. The Red Sox lost 9-1 to Baltimore on Tuesday night.
Tampa Bay nicked Phil Hughes (17-8) and relievers Javier Vazquez and Joba Chamberlain, but never quite got the big hit it needed while stranding 10 runners.
Ahead 7-3, Chamberlain escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by striking out pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe and getting John Jaso on a liner to center. Chamberlain finished for his third save.
|Royals 9, Tigers 6|
DETROIT (AP) — Mike Aviles drove in three runs, and rookie Jerrod Dyson scored three times for Kansas City.
The Royals, who got three hits from Billy Butler, were aided by three errors by Detroit pitchers — one by starter Armando Galarraga and two by reliever Alfredo Figaro.
Bruce Chen (11-7) improved to 3-0 in his last five starts, allowing three runs, four hits and a walk in six innings.
Joakim Soria, the fifth Kansas City pitcher, got the last two outs for his 33rd consecutive save and 40th overall.
Galarraga (4-7), who gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings, has only won twice in 18 starts since his near-perfect game against Cleveland on June 2.
|Orioles 9, Red Sox 1|
BOSTON (AP) — Ty Wigginton hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the seventh and Brad Bergesen pitched six strong innings for Baltimore.
Wigginton drove his 21st homer of the season just inside the right field foul pole off Scott Atchison, who came in after Clay Buchholz allowed one unearned run and four hits in six innings.
Bergesen (8-10) gave up one run and five hits as he allowed three runs or fewer for the ninth time in his last 10 starts.
Buchholz lowered his ERA from 2.48 to 2.39, second in the AL to Seattle's Felix Hernandez at 2.35. Atchison (2-3) allowed three hits and retired just one batter.
|Blue Jays 5, Mariners 3|
TORONTO (AP) — Vernon Wells and Travis Snider hit two-run homers and Edwin Encarnacion added a solo shot.
Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (2-4) gave up two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since an Aug. 13 road victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Rzepczynski, who had not won in six starts, walked three and matched a season-high with eight strikeouts.
Shawn Camp got two outs in the seventh, Scott Downs pitched the eighth and Kevin Gregg earned his 34th save in 39 chances despite allowing Chone Figgins' RBI single in the ninth.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 4 for 4 with four singles and a walk, leaving him three hits from 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Suzuki leads the majors with 197 hits.
All three homers came off left-hander Luke French, (4-6), who allowed five runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two.