Ivan Nova returned from the disabled list to help New York to a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay Rays and take outright control of the American League East.
MLB: Nova shines on return for Yankees as Orioles slip up against Oakland
New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova made his mark after returning from a shoulder injury to help his side overcome the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 and return to the top of the American League East.
The Yankees moved a game clear of Baltimore (81-64) after a 5-3 win over the Rays (78-67), Curtis Granderson hitting his 39th home run of the season to help New York to a 4-0 lead though five innings.
Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria homered in the sixth and the visitors scored twice more in the seventh to make it a one-run game, but the Yankees sealed the win when Alex Rodriguez drove in Robinson Cano in the eighth inning.
Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova made an impressive return from the disabled list to get the win.
"It's not that I didn't try to be focused in the past, but a game like today, especially coming back from the DL, you have to do everything you can to win this game," Nova told reporters after the game.
"I came from my house mentally prepared to do that."
The Rays beat the Yankees on Friday but have lost four of their last five games to divisional rivals and slipped three games behind in the wildcard race.
The Orioles had been level with the Yankees prior to the latest round of matches but suffered a 5-2 defeat against the Oakland Athletics.
Stephen Drew produced a superb all-round performance, homering once and playing his part in more than one defensive play, to inspire Oakland.
The Chicago White Sox maintained their grip at the top of the Central League with a 5-3 triumph over the Minnesota Twins, Trevor Plouffe's two-run homer in the seventh inning proving the difference.
The Detroit Tigers recorded the same scoreline over the Cleveland Indians to stay one game behind the White Sox. Anibal Sanchez struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings to guide the Tigers home.
AL West leaders the Texas Rangers were undone early on against the Seattle Mariners, who smoked five runs in the third inning in their 8-6 success.
The Boston Red Sox claimed back-to-back wins over the Toronto Blue Jays, edging them out 3-2 this time around, while the Kansas City Royals recorded the same score against the Los Angeles Angels.
National League East leaders Washington fell to their second defeat against the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals built a 4-1 lead at the end of the second inning but Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman homered for the Braves, who emerged triumphant 5-4.
A late rally from the Chicago Cubs failed to pay dividends as the Pittsburgh Pirates held on to claim a 7-6 victory - their first in eight matches.
Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Lee combined for five RBIs to help the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4, while the Houston Astros humbled the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0.
Buster Posey was the hero for San Francisco, leaders of the NL West, as his two-run homer helped the Giants slip past the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2.
Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer during a five-run fourth inning which propelled the Milwaukee Brewers to a 9-6 success over the New York Mets and Jesus Guzman's three-run homer carried the San Diego Padres past the Colorado Rockies 4-3, which was also the scoreline in Los Angeles as the Dodgers edged out the St Louis Cardinals.
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