Tampa Bay scored 13 unanswered runs and then held on for a 15-8 win against the New York Yankees that pulled the Rays within two games of Boston in the chase for the American League wild-card spot.
B.J. Upton, Johnny Damon and Ben Zobrist each hit a home run and drove in three runs for the Rays, who had lost the three previous games in the series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees had clinched the AL East division title a day earlier by sweeping Tampa Bay in a doubleheader. Several New York regulars had last night off as Matt Moore struck out 11 in five scoreless innings in his first Major League Baseball start.
“Obviously it wasn’t all their lineup, but there was a lot of good hitters in that lineup and he attacked them,” Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters. “His composure, Yankee Stadium, throwing strikes, all those things speak to the makeup of Matt Moore.”
The Red Sox (88-68), who were off yesterday, have six games left -- three at New York starting tonight, followed by three at Baltimore. The Rays (86-70) also have six remaining, all at home -- three against Toronto this weekend, followed by a three-game visit from the Yankees.
The Los Angeles Angels lost 4-3 at Toronto in 12 innings and remained three games behind the Red Sox for the wild card. The Angels (85-71) also have six games remaining.
The Texas Rangers, who lost 4-3 at Oakland yesterday, lead the Angels by five games in the AL West. The Detroit Tigers, who already clinched the AL Central title, lost 6-5 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Cardinals Blow Lead
The St. Louis Cardinals blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning in an 8-6 loss at home to the New York Mets, and fell two games behind Atlanta in the chase for the National League’s wild-card spot. The Braves, who have lost 13 of their last 20 games, had the day off.
The Cardinals led 6-2 entering the ninth inning at Busch Stadium before three St. Louis relievers allowed the Mets to score six runs on four walks, three hits and two errors. Willie Harris’s two-out, two-run single broke a 6-6 tie.
“Don’t make a mistake and say we’re heartbroken,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told reporters. “Our heart’s beating. We won the series, get ready for tomorrow.”
The San Francisco Giants lost 8-2 at the Los Angeles Dodgers and trail the Braves by four games for the wild card. The Giants are six games back in the NL West of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who didn’t play yesterday.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who already have clinched the NL East title, lost their sixth straight game, falling 6-1 at home against the Washington Nationals. The Milwaukee Brewers, who lead the NL Central by five games over St. Louis, were off.