Chicago wins, go three games clear
CHICAGO - The Associated Press
Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Addison Reed takes the mound during the game against the Detroit Tigers. AP photoThe Chicago White Sox put one foot in the American League playoffs by beating Detroit 5-4 on Sept. 17 to increase their lead over the Tigers in the Central Division to three games.
Making up for a rainout last week, Chicago knew the difference between a one-game and three-game gap was crucial, and took the vital win thanks partly to a Tigers error in the fifth inning.
Trailing 4-3, the White Sox loaded the bases. With one out, Dayan Viciedo hit toward shortstop and Detroit needed to turn a double play but Alex Rios slid hard into second baseman Omar Infante, whose throw to first base went wide, allowing not just one but two runs to score.
With Chicago and the Texas Rangers both holding three-game leads in their divisions, the East is the closest race. The Baltimore Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 10-4 to cut the gap to the division-leading New York Yankees to half a game.
The Orioles were in control from the time Nate McLouth hit a leadoff home run in the first inning. The result also moved Baltimore three games clear of the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card spot.
The Tampa Bay Rays had made it a three-way fight in the East for a long time, but their chances may have been snuffed out for good by a 5-2 home defeat by the Boston Red Sox.
Giants, Braves walk on
In the National League, the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves both won to shore up their provisional playoff placings, while the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates also won to keep a pulse in their fringe wild-card ambitions.
The Braves beat the Miami Marlins 7-5 and are now 8 1-2 games clear of the highest team outside the current playoff spots, so at least a wild-card berth appears certain. They also moved within five games of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer in the first inning for Atlanta while Martin Prado tied his career best with four hits.
The Giants edged the Colorado Rockies 2-1, who moved eight games clear atop the West division. Brandon Crawford tripled, doubled, and scored on a passed ball for San Francisco, while Hunter Pence singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Pittsburgh closed in on the second wild-card spot by beating the Chicago Cubs 3-0. Philadelphia stayed a game behind Pittsburgh by downing the New York Mets 3-1.