Rays Close on Yankees With 7-2 Win; Phillies Take 6-Game Lead Over Braves

Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back home runs as the Tampa Bay Rays moved within 1 1/2 games of the American League East-leading New York Yankees with a 7-2 win over their division rival.

Six Tampa Bay pitchers held the Yankees to six hits in the Major League Baseball game last night that included a 2 hour, 11 minute rain interruption. Host New York won the first two games of the series, which concludes tonight. The Rays lead the Boston Red Sox by 6 1/2 games in the AL wild card standings.

In Philadelphia, Roy Oswalt and two relief pitchers combined on a one-hitter as the Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves 1-0. The three-game series sweep for the Phillies gives them a six-game lead over the Braves atop the National League East. The Phillies have won 10 straight games.

The San Francisco Giants lost 2-0 at the Chicago Cubs, knocking the Giants out of first place in the NL West. The loss leaves them a half-game behind the Braves in the race for the wild card, the playoff spot given to the team with the best record that doesn’t win a division.

The San Diego Padres took a half-game lead over the Giants atop the division with a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Colorado Rockies are three games behind the Padres after an 8-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Minnesota Twins, the only team to clinch a playoff spot so far, announced their pitching rotation for the first round of the postseason. Before their 5-1 home win yesterday against Cleveland, manager Ron Gardenhire said Francisco Liriano will start the first game of the playoffs for the AL Central champion.

“He’s been winging it pretty good,” Gardenhire told reporters about Liriano, who has a 14-8 record this season with 191 strikeouts in 183 innings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at rgloster@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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