NEW YORK Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 17th home run Thursday night to help the New York Yankees rally for a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
The Yankees won their fourth straight and 15th in 17 games, and moved one-half game ahead of Boston, which lost in Toronto, for second place in the AL East. It's the first time since April 10 New York was higher than third in the division.
The Yankees haven't led the Red Sox in the standings since April 13, when New York was 4-4 and Boston was 3-5. The rivals open a three-game series on Friday night.
Rodriguez's homer in the fifth inning against Jeremy Bonderman (5-3) followed a single by Hideki Matsui and gave the Yankees third baseman 49 RBIs, also tops in the majors.
The Tigers had an early 3-1 lead against Kevin Brown (4-4), who gave up 10 hits in seven innings.
Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 1
TORONTO Eric Hinske homered as part of a six-run first inning, and the Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep.
Boston, which has lost seven of 10, opens a three-game set Friday in New York against the rival Yankees.
Russ Adams had a career-high four RBIs for the Blue Jays, who swept the Red Sox in a three-game series for the first time since May 30-June 1, 2003. Toronto is 6-2 versus Boston this season.
The Blue Jays sent 10 batters to the plate in the first against Boston starter Wade Miller (1-1). Reed Johnson led off with a triple before Orlando Hudson hit a sacrifice fly. Hinske later hit a towering two-run homer to right.
Rangers 8, Royals 1
ARLINGTON, Texas Kenny Rogers won his sixth straight start for the Rangers, who hit three home runs.
Rogers (6-2) gave up a run in the first and allowed six baserunners through the fourth, even with a three-up, three-down inning in that stretch. But the 40-year-old left-hander held the Royals to that single run over seven innings, lowering his AL-leading ERA to 1.69.
Richard Hidalgo homered for the fifth time in five games, and Alfonso Soriano and Mark Teixeira also homered in Texas' sixth straight win.
Jose Lima (0-4) allowed eight runs, leaving the game after Teixeira's 11th homer led off the fifth to make it 8-1. Lima is winless in 13 starts since Sept. 14 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, including all 11 of his starts for the Royals.
Orioles 5, Mariners 2
BALTIMORE Melvin Mora, Rafael Palmeiro and Miguel Tejada homered to back a strong pitching performance by Daniel Cabrera, and the Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the Seattle.
Mora had three hits for the Orioles, whose eighth win in 11 games moved them a season-high 14 games over .500 (30-16).
Cabrera (4-3) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings before leaving with a 3-1 lead. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two.
Seattle rookie Jeremy Reed hit his first major league homer with two outs in the ninth.
Devil Rays 2, Athletics 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Hideo Nomo took a shutout into the eighth inning and Carl Crawford snapped a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning single to help Tampa Bay sweep Oakland.
Nomo (3-4) struck out seven and walked two before leaving the game after yielding a leadoff homer to Marco Scutaro and a one-out single to Jason Kendall in the eighth. The Devil Rays bullpen then protected a one-run lead to give the 36-year-old right-hander his 199th win in his career in the United States and Japan.
Crawford had two of Tampa Bay's four hits off Oakland starter Dan Haren (1-7), including a RBI single that gave the Devil Rays a 1-0 lead in the sixth.
Twins 5, Indians 4
CLEVELAND Shannon Stewart homered with two outs in the 11th inning off David Riske to give Minnesota a split of the four-game series.
Stewart ripped a 2-2 pitch from Riske (1-2) over the wall in straightaway center field and into the empty picnic pavilion as the Twins won the third straight extra-inning game between the AL Central rivals.
Jesse Crain (5-0) pitched the 10th and Joe Nathan worked a shaky 11th for his 14th save.
Angels 3, White Sox 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. John Lackey pitched seven sharp innings and Dallas McPherson hit a go-ahead two-run homer.
Lackey (5-2) gave up two runs and six hits, struck out five and walked two as the teams split the four-game series that was dominated by solid pitching on both sides.
Scot Shields got the final four outs for his sixth save in seven chances.
McPherson homered to center field on his first pitch from Jose Contreras (2-2) with two outs in the seventh. Garret Anderson scored after hitting a leadoff single and advancing to second on a sacrifice by Jeff DaVanon.
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