Miguel Cabrera continued his bid for baseball's rare triple crown and helped the Detroit Tigers close the gap on the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central with a 6-2 victory over Oakland.
Ace pitcher Justin Verlander tossed six scoreless innings to make it an easy night at home for the Tigers (79-69) as they pulled within two games of the leaders.
Cabrera's bid to become the first man to lead the league in batting, home runs and RBIs since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 is becoming a gripping subplot to the leaguewide race for the playoffs.
The Venezuelan infielder, already pacing the AL in hitting (. 333) and RBIs (130), blasted his 41st home run to put him one behind leader Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers with just 14 games remaining.
"It's amazing," Cabrera told reporters. "I feel very good right now, I'm trying to see my pitches and go out there and battle. (But) we have to focus on winning games right now."
Bruce Chen pitched into the seventh inning and Alex Gordon hit a two-run double as the Kansas City Royals beat the White Sox 3-0 to snap Chicago's five-game winning streak.
The New York Yankees remain top of the American League East after a double-header success against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ichiro Suzuki had a go-ahead single in the eighth inning, his seventh hit of the day, to help New York complete the double-header sweep of Toronto with a 2-1 win.
Suzuki made a difficult catch with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of the opener to preserve a lead for Andy Pettitte in a 4-2 victory.
Toronto dropped to 66-81, guaranteeing they will not have a winning record this season.
The Tampa Bay Rays ended a four-game losing streak in spectacular fashion with an emphatic 13-3 defeat of the Boston Red Sox.
Desmond Jennings hit a two-run triple during Tampa Bay's seven-run sixth inning.
The Cleveland Indians dropped into last place in AL Central with a 6-4 defeat by the Minnesota Twins.
Josh Willingham had four hits and four RBIs and Minnesota's Liam Hendriks finally got his first career win.
Texas won 6-2 over the Los Angeles Angel, while Baltimore followed up their 18-innings marathon against Seattle on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over the Mariners in a mere 11 innings.
Matt Kemp scored a phantom run early, then hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning - right after Washington rallied with a six-run eighth - as the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed a 7-6 win for a shared double-header which prevented the Nationals from securing a National League play-off spot.
The Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 as Kris Medlen pitched eight innings of four-hit ball.
The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Mets 3-2 as Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead homer with two outs in the ninth inning to rally the visitors for a dramatic victory.
Marco Estrada pitched seven scoreless innings and rookie shortstop Jean Segura hit a double and triple as the surging Milwaukee Brewers stayed in contention for a wild-card spot with a 3-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The St Louis Cardinals went two games ahead of the LA Dodgers in the race for the second NL wild card spot with a 5-0 defeat of the Houston Astros as David Freese and Yadier Molina each hit their 20th home run of the season, and Lance Lynn threw 6 1/3 innings.
Cincinnati needed 11 innings to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5, Arizona were 6-2 winners over San Diego and San Francisco won 7-1 against Colorado.
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