BOSTON (AP) Jon Lester pitched into the eighth inning, Jason Bay homered in a three-run first and the surging Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 on Monday night to move within a half-game of the struggling AL East leaders.
Playing before their 456th straight regular-season sellout crowd, a new major league record, the Red Sox closed within a half-game of the division lead for the first time since July 23.
Boston improved to 6-1 in its last seven games while Tampa Bay is 1-6 in that same stretch after losing its fourth straight. The Rays were shut out for the second consecutive day for the first time this year, having lost 1-0 at Toronto on Sunday. They also dropped to 0-7 at Fenway Park.
Lester (14-5) matched his season high with nine strikeouts, accomplished in his no-hitter against Kansas City on May 19. He allowed six hits and three walks in 7 2-3 innings.
Lester was pulled with runners at second and third. Jonathan Papelbon struck out Rocco Baldelli, who fanned in all four at-bats, and finished up for his 36th save in 40 opportunities.
Boston leads the majors with 14 shutouts.
Edwin Jackson (11-10) settled down after the three-run first and lasted seven innings.
TIGERS 14, ATHLETICS 8: At Detroit, Gary Sheffield's second home run of the night a grand slam was the 250,000th homer in major league history and it helped Detroit beat Oakland. Sheffield drove in five runs, including his 13th career slam. Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Hessman also went deep for the Tigers, who won their third straight. Oakland has lost five of seven. Both starting pitchers struggled. Zach Miner of the Tigers gave up eight runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings, and rookie Gio Gonzalez (1-4) allowed a career-high nine runs eight earned and five hits in 1 2-3 innings. Relief pitcher Casey Fossum (3-1) got the win for the Tigers, pitching 2 2-3 hitless innings.
ANGELS 12, YANKEES 1: At Anaheim, Calif., Ivan Rodriguez and Torii Hunter were ejected after a bench-clearing scuffle in the sixth inning Monday night, when the Los Angeles Angels scored six runs on the way to a blowout victory over the New York Yankees that reduced their magic number to two for clinching the AL West title.
Brandon Wood hit two homers, and Vladimir Guerrero and Sean Rodriguez also connected for the Angels, who own the best record in baseball at 86-56.
ORIOLES 14, INDIANS 3: At Baltimore, Aubrey Huff hit a grand slam to cap a seven-run sixth inning and Baltimore ended an eight-game losing streak by defeating Cleveland. Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Ramon Hernandez also homered for the Orioles, who had lost 13 of 14. Jones ended an 0-for-16 skid with three hits and four RBIs. Asdrubal Cabrera went 3-for-3 and drove in two runs for the Indians, and Shin-Soo Choo had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Choo has reached safely in 28 straight games since Aug. 25. Orioles starter Garrett Olson (9-7) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The left-hander was 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in his previous four starts. Fausto Carmona (8-6) took the loss. Cleveland has allowed 11 grand slams this season, a club record and the most in the majors.
PHILLIES 8, MARLINS 6: At Philadelphia, Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and three steals and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 8-6 on Monday night. The Phillies closed within 1 1/2 games of the NL East-leading New York Mets. They remain two behind in the loss column. Joe Blanton (2-0) pitched five shaky innings to earn his first win since Aug. 2. Blanton allowed four runs and five hits in his 10th start since Philadelphia acquired him from Oakland. Brad Lidge finished for his 35th save in as many chances. Lidge put the tying runs on base, before escaping the jam by striking out Wes Helms and Jorge Cantu to end it.
REDS 5, BREWERS 4: At Milwaukee, Jeff Keppinger's double capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally off Milwaukee closer Salomon Torres and Cincinnati beat the reeling Brewers. With the loss, the Brewers' lead in the NL wild-card race shrunk to three games over the Phillies with 18 games left. The Brewers and Phillies play a key four-game series beginning Thursday in Philadelphia. Jared Burton (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 34 chances. Torres (6-5) entered the game with Milwaukee leading 4-2, but allowed consecutive singles to Jay Bruce and Wilkin Castillo, and a walk to Chris Dickerson to load the bases with no outs.
ASTROS 3, PIRATES 2: At Houston, Pinch-hitter Mark Saccomanno homered on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues to help the surging Astros beat Pittsburgh. Saccomanno hit a solo shot in the fifth inning, becoming the fourth Houston player to homer in his first big league plate appearance. The Astros have won three straight and 11 of 12 to move 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.
PADRES 4, DODGERS 0: At San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off former teammate Greg Maddux and the last-place San Diego Padres beat NL West leader Los Angeles on Monday night, snapping the Dodgers' eight-game winning streak.
Cha Seung Baek combined with two relievers to four-hit the Dodgers, who came in with a 1 1/2-game lead over Arizona. Los Angeles leapfrogged Arizona into the division lead with a three-game weekend sweep at Dodger Stadium.
Andre Ethier had three of the Dodgers' hits, including two doubles.
GIANTS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2: At San Francisco, Tim Lincecum struck out nine, Bengie Molina hit a three-run homer and San Francisco sent the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks to their fourth straight defeat.
Lincecum had a shot at his first career complete game but loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, giving way to Alex Hinshaw to a standing ovation following his 127-pitch gem.
The Diamondbacks have lost seven of nine and fell out of first place over the weekend when they were swept by the Dodgers. Arizona remained 1 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the NL West because Los Angeles lost 4-0 to San Diego.