Thanks to the repeated bumblings of the Anaheim Angels, there's a new first-place team in the AL West - the Texas Rangers.
Four relievers combined to pitch 72/3 scoreless innings for the Rangers on Thursday night, allowing them to pull out a 7-6 victory over Anaheim and take the division lead for the first time since Aug. 13.The Angels finished their road trip 1-6 and have lost seven of nine to blow the division lead they had held since Aug. 14. Anaheim led by as much as four games on Aug. 26.
"We had a terrible road trip," Anaheim manager Terry Collins said. "Don't just look at the Texas series. We lost three to Baltimore and played terrible in Tampa Bay. We've got to regroup, take a deep breath and take care of business."
Collins believes the Angels can still avoid a repeat of the horror of 1995, when they led Seattle by 13 games on Aug. 9, only to see the Mariners win the division in a one-game playoff. Anaheim plays six of its final 10 games at home, including three against Texas from Monday through Wednesday.
Texas' final three home games are this weekend against Oakland.
RED SOX 3, ORIOLES 2: At Baltimore, Mo Vaughn singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and Tom Gordon set a major league single-season record with his 39th straight save.
Boston increased its lead over Toronto in the AL wild-card race to five games.
TIGERS 7, BLUE JAYS 4: Damion Easley hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Detroit a victory that dimmed Toronto's playoff hopes.
MARINERS 8, ATHLETICS 0: Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 53rd homer, a three-run shot in the first inning, and Jamie Moyer (14-9) pitched a four-hitter at Oakland. Griffey's homer, his 11th in 23 games, came after Carlos Guillen and Alex Rodriguez began the game with singles off Tom Candiotti (11-16).
YANKEES 4, DEVIL RAYS 0: Hideki Irabu allowed just two hits in eight innings as visiting New York responded to a verbal lashing from manager Joe Torre.
INDIANS 9, TWINS 1: At Cleveland, Manny Ramirez hit his 43rd homer, tying the major league record with his sixth in three games.
His two-run shot in the fourth off Minnesota's Eric Milton (7-13) gave him six homers in his last nine official at-bats.
ROYALS 13, WHITE SOX 4: Jose Offerman drove in two runs, stole three bases and hit his major league-leading 13th triple as visiting Kansas City overcame Albert Belle's 47th homer.
CUBS 4, PADRES 3: Sammy Sosa's right. He can't - and doesn't have to - hit a home run every game.
A day after hitting his 63rd homer, a tiebreaking grand slam in a 6-3 win, Sosa went 0-for-4 and said he felt great. He drove a couple of high fly balls to center field and celebrated along with the rest of the Chicago Cubs after their 4-3 win in 10 innings over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
"We need the win," Sosa said. "They (the Padres) already clinched, and we're trying to survive."
Gary Gaetti hit the big home run Thursday, leading off the 10th inning off Padres relief ace Trevor Hoffman.
"One big swing can mean the difference," Gaetti said. "Somebody different every day has been doing the job. That's what it's like when you get down the stretch."
"I can't do it alone every day. Last night was my turn. Today it was Mark Grace and Gary Gaetti."
Sosa remained tied at 63 with Mark McGwire, whose St. Louis Cardinals were idle.
Sosa went 0-for-4 with a walk. He finished the series 4-for-18 with one homer, six RBIs, seven strikeouts and one walk.
Before the game, Fabian Perez Mercado of Tijuana, Mexico, turned over the ball from Sosa's slam. In the fourth inning, Sosa shattered his home run bat grounding out off rookie starter Stan Spencer.
Every time Sosa came to bat, fans in the outfield seats held up huge targets. One fan brought a "Sammy Slam-O-Meter" set on 63. A few fans had Dominican flags.
The Padres have lost three straight and four out of five since clinching the NL West title Saturday night.
BRAVES 1, DIAMONDBACKS 0: At Phoenix, Denny Neagle allowed only four hits in six innings to improve to 15-11, making Atlanta the first major league team with five 15-game winners since the 1930 Washington Senators.