BOSTON (AP) - Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro had to dodge a broken bat and wound up letting the go-ahead single through his legs on Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 9-2 and cut their deficit in the AL wild-card race to three games.
The Red Sox dropped to 3-11 in September to fall from first place in the division to 4Â½ games behind the New York Yankees and into a race with the Rays for the wild-card. Boston and Tampa Bay play three more times at Fenway Park this weekend.
B.J. Upton broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with his bat-aided RBI single, and Evan Longoria followed with a three-run homer. Casey Kotchman added a two-run shot in the sixth to make it 6-1, and in the seventh Upton hit a two-run homer and Kotchman added an RBI single.
Jeremy Hellickson (13-10) allowed one run on three hits and four walks, striking out four in 5 2-3 innings. Kyle Weiland (0-2) pitched three-plus innings, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks.
Athletics 6, Tigers 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - David DeJesus hit a three-run homer in the first, Brandon McCarthy pitched seven strong innings and the Athletics snapped Detroit's 12-game winning streak, delaying the Tigers chance to clinch the AL Central Division title.
Delmon Young hit a home run for the Tigers, who still say their magic number drop to one when the Cleveland Indians fell to the Texas Rangers 7-4 earlier in the evening. The Tigers need any combination of a win or a Cleveland loss over the final 12 games to clinch the division.
McCarthy (9-8) allowed one run on five hits to improve to 3-2 with a 2.15 ERA over his last five starts. He walked two and struck out eight.
Max Scherzer (14-9) lasted five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out eight.
Rangers 7, Indians 4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Michael Young hit a three-run double to go over 100 RBIs for the second time in his career and the AL West-leading Rangers completed a three-game series sweep of Cleveland.
Cleveland's loss cut Detroit's magic number for clinching the AL Central to one. The Tigers played later at Oakland.
Josh Hamilton homered for the third straight game and Adrian Beltre also homered in extending his career-best hitting streak to 19 games.
Texas stretched its division lead over the idle Los Angeles Angels to 3Â½ games.
Royals 7, White Sox 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Melky Cabrera had four hits, including a home run, and Billy Butler hit a three-run homer to lead the Royals to a victory over the White Sox.
The loss officially eliminated the White Sox from the playoffs.
The Royals' five-game winning streak is their longest since they won five straight from Sept. 7-11, 2009.
Cabrera's four-hit game matched a career high and his double in the sixth was his 40th as an outfielder - he has one as a DH. The Royals are the first team in major league history to have three outfielders with 40 or more doubles. Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur both have 45.
Butler's 19th home run in the sixth inning came off Mark Buehrle (11-9), who has lost five of his last six starts.