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Yankees Alone in First Place After Win Over Rays, Orioles’ Loss

The New York Yankees reclaimed solo possession of first place in the American League East, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 as the Baltimore Orioles fell 5-2 in Oakland.

Ivan Nova allowed two runs in six innings on the mound and Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez hit back-to-back home runs yesterday as New York beat Tampa at Yankee Stadium.

Nova, making his first appearance since Aug. 21 because of a shoulder injury, struck out eight, walked two and allowed four hits, including a solo homer by Evan Longoria, to raise his record to 12-7 this season. James Shields (14-9) took the loss for Tampa, giving up four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The win moved New York’s record to 82-63, a game ahead of the Orioles (81-64), who lost to the Athletics as Baltimore’s Zach Britton (5-3) lasted four innings, giving up five runs on four hits, including a homer by Stephen Drew.

Jarrod Parker (11-8) earned the win for the Athletics (84-61), who drew within two games of the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Texas (86-59) fell 8-6 to the Seattle Mariners.

Oakland and Baltimore lead the race for the AL wild cards, which go to the top two non-division winning clubs. The Los Angeles Angels, who lost 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals, are 79-67, 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles for a wild-card spot. Tampa (78-67) is three back and the Detroit Tigers, who beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3, are 3 1/2 games off the pace.

Both Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez and the Chicago White Sox’s Francisco Liriano took no-hitters into the seventh inning yesterday. The White Sox, who beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3, are one game ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central. In other action, the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2.

NL Race

In National League play yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 to draw even in the race for the league’s second wild card.

Both teams are 76-70 after Luis Cruz hit a two-out run-scoring double in the bottom of the ninth inning and pinch-hitter Juan Rivera followed with game-winning single.

Jason Motte (4-5) blew the save attempt for St. Louis after retiring the first two Dodgers’ batters he faced.

Joe Blanton started the game for Los Angeles after the team announced that reigning Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would miss the start because of inflammation in his right hip. Kershaw, 24, will see a specialist in New York in two days and might need arthroscopic surgery if the pain continues, the Associate Press reported.

The Pittsburgh Pirates (73-71), who beat the Chicago Cubs 7-6, are two games back in the wild-card race; the Milwaukee Brewers (73-72) topped the New York Mets 9-6 and are 2 1/2 behind; and the Philadelphia Phillies (73-73) were shut out 5-0 by the Houston Astros to fall three back.

It was the Atlanta Braves 5, the Washington Nationals 4; the Miami Marlins 6, the Cincinnati Reds 4; the San Francisco Giants 3, the Arizona Diamondbacks 2; and the San Diego Padres 4, the Colorado Rockies 3 in National League play.

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