Red Sox complete sweep of Orioles to close in on top spot
BALTIMORE — Boston pitcher David Price took his eighth straight decision as the Red Sox won 5-3 at Baltimore on Thursday, closing in on both the American League East title and the overall best record in the league.
A four-game sweep of the fading Orioles put Boston 5-1/2 games clear in the AL East with only nine games to play in the regular season, while Baltimore dropped half a game behind Detroit in the fight over the last wildcard berth.
The Red Sox have won eight straight to move within one game of Texas for the overall best record in the AL, and the home-park advantage that can bring in the league championship series.
Cleveland is also in that race, half a game behind Boston, after defeating Kansas City, whose World Series defense looks as good as over, now five games off the wildcard pace.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers closed in on the West title by beating Colorado, while the New York Mets had a dramatic 11-inning victory over Philadelphia and are in a tie with San Francisco for the two wildcard spots, with St. Louis half a game behind.
Boston’s Price gave up three runs in seven innings, striking out five. The Red Sox have won each of the left-hander’s past nine starts.
Hanley Ramirez homered for the Red Sox, who had their first four-game sweep at Camden Yards since 2002.
Cleveland’s Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer to push the Indians to a 5-2 win against Kansas City and nearer to its first AL Central championship since 2007.
Santana’s shot in the sixth inning snapped a 2-2 tie as the Indians lowered their magic number — the combined total of their wins and/or losses by their nearest rival — to three to clinch the division.
Cleveland has won nine of ten against the Royals this season.
Los Angeles’ Yasmani Grandal homered twice, including a grand slam in the seventh inning, to rally the Dodgers past Colorado 7-4.
The victory reduced the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching their record fourth consecutive NL West title to four. Their division lead over San Francisco remained at six games.
Andre Ethier hit a double to open the seventh. Rockies reliever Boone Logan loaded the bases on two consecutive one-out walks, and another walk forced in a run and leaving the Dodgers trailing 4-3. Grandal followed with his second career grand slam, giving L.A. its first lead of the game.
New York’s Jose Reyes hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run drive in an 11th-inning comeback to lift the Mets to a memorable 9-8 win over Philadelphia.
New York trailed 6-4 when Brandon Nimmo singled leading off the ninth and Reyes homered with one out to tie the game.
Philadelphia went ahead 8-6 in the 11th but the Mets came again in the bottom of the inning.
Michael Conforto walked with one out, Reyes singled and Cabrera homered over right field, setting off a wild celebration. The Mets had been 0-63 this year when trailing after eight innings.
Los Angeles’ Ricky Nolasco pitched seven scoreless innings, guiding the Angels to a 2-0 win against Houston which put a dent in the Astros’ wildcard hopes.
San Francisco’s Jeff Samardzija struck out nine in seven strong innings to steer the Giants past San Diego 2-1 and retaining a share of the wildcard berths.
Milwaukee’s Chris Carter hit his 37th home run of the season, matching his career high, as the Brewers beat Pittsburgh 3-1 to drive another nail into the Pirates’ playoff ambitions.
Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell and his relievers combined to strand 11 New York runners in a 2-0 win against the Yankees.
Atlanta’s Matt Kemp hit two home runs to power the Braves over Miami 6-3.
Detroit moved into the second wildcard spot in the AL by winning both games of a doubleheader at Minnesota, 9-2 and 4-2.