Red Sox Sweep Yanks as Indians Gain Ground in MLB Wild-Card Race

The Boston Red Sox completed a three-game series sweep of the New York Yankees with a 9-2 win that dropped their division rivals three games back in the race for an American League wild-card playoff berth.

Mike Napoli hit a two-run home run in Boston’s three-run first inning and Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz allowed one unearned run over six innings last night at Fenway Park to improve his record to 11-0 on the season.

The Red Sox have Major League Baseball’s best record at 92-59 and a 9 1/2-game lead atop the AL Eastern Division. The Yankees, who are 6-13 against Boston this season, slipped to 79-71 and again failed to pick up ground in the race for one of the AL’s two wild-card spots.

“We’re not the only team that’s ran into hard times in the month of September,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose team is 8-8 this month. “We still have a great opportunity. Yeah, we have to win a lot of games, but the opportunity is in front of us.”

Ivan Nova allowed five runs -- four earned -- over four innings in taking the loss for New York. The Yankees, who have 12 regular-season games remaining, have gotten only one win from a starting pitcher this month.

“We were hoping he could give us a little more and it didn’t happen,” Girardi told reporters.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are tied at 81-67 and in position for the wild-card berths, which go to the two non-division winners in each league with the best records. The Rays lost 6-4 to the Minnesota Twins yesterday, while the Rangers dropped their sixth in a row, a 5-1 defeat against the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. The Rays and Rangers open a four-game series today in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Indians Surge

The Cleveland Indians (81-68) pulled within a half-game of a wild-card spot with a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

The Baltimore Orioles (79-70) are 2 1/2 games out after a 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, while the Kansas City Royals (78-71) remain 3 1/2 games back after a 3-2 loss to the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

The Indians and Royals open a three-game series today in Kansas City, while the Orioles next play three games in Boston starting tomorrow. The Yankees are in Toronto next and start a three-game series tomorrow.

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