The New York Yankees fell 5-4 to the Minnesota Twins, and held on to their 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East as the Baltimore Orioles were shut out 4-0 by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Orioles (88-67) remain in position for the first of the two AL wild cards ahead of the Oakland Athletics (87-67), who have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card spot. The top two non-division winners in each league earn wild-card slots, and one week remains in Major League Baseball’s regular season.
The Athletics topped the host Texas Rangers 3-2 in 10 innings last night. The Angels defeated the visiting Seattle Mariners 5-4.
At Target Field in Minneapolis, Denard Span hit a two-run double and Joe Mauer added a run-scoring single as the Twins scored four runs in the seventh inning.
“Our guys are rising to the occasion,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters. “If you can’t get up for (the Yankees), you can’t get up for anything.”
Nick Swisher hit his 24th home run of the season to drive in Robinson Cano in the fourth inning, and Russell Martin hit a solo homer in the seventh as the Yankees (89-65) took a 3-1 lead. Andruw Jones added a pinch-hit home run in the ninth for New York.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
Casey Fien (2-1) gave up one run on one hit in one inning for the win. Glen Perkins got his 15th save after allowing Jones’s home run while striking out two in the ninth inning.
Phil Hughes (16-13) surrendered four runs on six hits and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings for the Yankees.
At Camden Yards, the Blue Jays earned their second straight victory against the Orioles on run-scoring singles by Yan Gomes, Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion and an RBI double by Adeiny Hechavarria.
Aaron Laffey (4-6) allowed five hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Blue Jays.
“Everything I had was out there tonight,” Laffey told reporters. “It just shows that if you stay aggressive in the zone and throw quality strikes, regardless of what the velocity of the pitch is, you can get big league hitters out by keeping the ball down in the zone and staying on the edges.”
Joe Saunders (2-3) gave up four runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings for Baltimore.
The Detroit Tigers (82-72) moved into a tie with the Chicago White Sox for the lead in the AL Central division. The Tigers defeated visiting Kansas City 2-0, while the White Sox lost 4-3 at home to the Cleveland Indians.
In the National League, Atlanta clinched a playoff berth when Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Braves a 4-3 win against the Miami Marlins.
Atlanta (89-65) is four games back of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (93-61), whose 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies dropped them into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the best record in the majors. The Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2.