DETROIT Paul Konerko homered to back Freddy Garcia and lead the White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 4-2 Thursday, clinching Chicago’s first AL Central title since 2000.
Chicago built a 15-game lead in the division on Aug. 1, then saw it dwindle to 1 1/2 games as Cleveland closed. The White Sox survived a shaky ninth inning to win their AL-best 96th game and will start the playoffs at home next week.
Carl Everett’s two-run triple in the first off Jason Grilli (1-1) helped the White Sox win their second straight and fifth in seven games.
Yankees 8, Orioles 4
BALTIMORE Aaron Small took a one-hitter into the seventh inning to improve to 10-0, and New York got homers from Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui to keep its lead over Boston in the AL East at one game.
Alex Rodriguez had two hits and scored twice for the Yankees, who built an 8-0 lead in winning for the 15th time in 18 games.
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4
BOSTON David Ortiz tied the game in the eighth inning with his 47th homer, then singled home the winning run in the ninth as Boston rallied from a 4-1 deficit.
Rookie Jonathan Papelbon (3-1) pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings for the win, and Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the sixth that cut the deficit to 4-3.
Indians 6, Devil Rays 0
CLEVELAND C.C. Sabathia pitched eight shutout innings, Travis Hafner homered and Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak to stay tied with Boston in the AL wild-card race.
Sabathia (15-10) allowed five hits and improved to 9-1 in his last 11 starts as the Indians ended Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak at Jacobs Field. He walked two and struck out nine.
Angels 7, Athletics 1
OAKLAND, Calif. Bartolo Colon (21-8) gave up one run and five hits in five innings, becoming the Angels’ winningest pitcher since Nolan Ryan went 22-16 in 1974. Colon pitched on three days’ rest to get on schedule for starting Los Angeles’ playoff opener Tuesday.
Mariners 4, Rangers 3
SEATTLE Richie Sexson had three hits and two RBIs for Seattle, which drew 19,781 fans the first crowd under 20,000 in the 5 1/2-year history of Safeco Field.
Royals 10, Twins 6
MINNEAPOLIS Mike Sweeney went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs and Kansas City avoided setting the club record for losses in a season.
Mark Teahen and John Buck hit solo home runs in a five-run sixth inning off rookie Travis Bowyer (0-1), who then gave up two singles before Sweeney homered to left-center for a 10-6 lead.
HOUSTON Charles Gipson was cut down at home plate for the final out following Luke Scott’s double into the right-center gap, and Chicago beat Houston 3-2 on Thursday night as the Astros’ lead over Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race was cut to two games.
Derrek Lee gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his 46th homer, and Chicago was still up one entering the ninth.
Gipson, a pinch runner, was on first with one out when Scott hit the drive that center fielder Corey Patterson cut off. Patterson threw to second baseman Jose Macias, who made a perfect relay to catcher Henry Blanco, well ahead of Gipson.
Brewers 2, Reds 0
MILWAUKEE Gary Glover allowed two hits over seven innings and struck out a career-high 10 to lead Milwaukee.
Glover (5-4) surrendered singles in the third and sixth innings. Jose Capellan, Julio Santana and Derrick Turnbow finished the three-hitter, with Turnbow getting his 38th save,
Mets 11, Rockies 0
NEW YORK David Wright hit two homers, Mike Piazza added another and Tom Glavine pitched a two-hitter for New York.
The victory was the 81st of the season for the Mets, clinching a .500 finish in Willie Randolph’s first year as manager.
Padres 1, Giants 0, 11 innings
SAN DIEGO San Diego’s Brian Lawrence allowed three hits over nine innings and Damian Jackson drove in the winning run with his fourth hit, a one-out single in the bottom of the 11th.
The Padres improved to 80-79. They need to win two of three against Los Angeles this weekend to finish with a winning record. No division winner has finished a non-strike year with a losing record.
David Ross had a bunt single leading off the 11th against Jeremy Accardo (1-5). He advanced on a groundout and Jackson then singled down the left-field line.
Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2
LOS ANGELES Alex Cintron drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and Arizona’s Dustin Nippert allowed one hit over five innings for his first major league victory.
Nippert (1-0) struck out six and walked five in his third big league start, allowing one run on a fourth-inning RBI single by Jayson Werth.
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