BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox clinched the AL East title on Friday night, getting seven strong innings from Jon Lester to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 and eliminate Tampa Bay from the division race.
One night after securing their first playoff appearance since 2009, the Red Sox added their first division title since ‘07. Boston entered the night with a magic number of one — meaning the next Red Sox win or Rays loss would clinch the division.
Lester (15-8) allowed one run on five hits and two walks, striking out eight to win for the seventh time in nine decisions. It was his 100th career victory.
Toronto pinch-hitter Adam Lind hit a two-run homer off Junichi Tazawa in the eighth to make it 5-3 before Koji Uehara got five outs for his 20th save. With the crowd standing for most of the final inning, he struck out Brett Lawrie to end the game and the Red Sox poured out of the dugout and bullpen.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits for the Red Sox, who have won 19 of their last 25.
Toronto starter Esmil Rogers (5-8) did not make it out of the third inning, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks and striking out two while getting only seven outs.
Tigers 12, White Sox 5
DETROIT — Max Scherzer became baseball’s first 20-game winner, pitching through a rainy six innings to help Detroit defeat Chicago.
Scherzer (20-3) was making his fifth attempt to win No. 20. He had two losses and two no-decisions in his previous four starts. Torii Hunter had four hits for Detroit, and Victor Martinez homered.
Dylan Axelrod (4-10) allowed seven runs in 2 2-3 innings.
The AL Central-leading Tigers lowered their magic number to eliminate second-place Cleveland to three.
Indians 2, Astros 1, 6 1-2 innings
CLEVELAND — Zach McAllister lasted five innings and the Cleveland Indians got two gift runs from Houston in a 2-1, rain-shortened victory over the Astros on Friday night to remain near the top of the AL wild-card standings.
The game was delayed for 1 hour, 9 minutes before the umpires decided to call it after 6 1-2 innings.
The Indians, who entered the night trailing both Tampa Bay and Texas by one-half game for a wild-card spot, scored an unearned run in the second and fourth innings off Brett Oberholtzer (4-4).
McAllister (9-9) allowed just one run and got a key double play in the fifth. Bryan Shaw went 1 1-3 innings for his first save.
Yankees 5, Giants 1
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez set a major league record with his 24th career grand slam, passing Lou Gehrig with a tiebreaking shot in the seventh inning that sent New York Yankees to victory over San Francisco.
Rodriguez’s slam helped CC Sabathia (14-13) beat Tim Lincecum in a matchup of former Cy Young Award-winners having subpar seasons.
More importantly for the Yankees, it led them to their second win in seven games as they cling to faint playoff hopes. New York began the day 3½ games behind Tampa Bay and Texas for the second AL wild card, with three other teams in between.
Alfonso Soriano also homered and New York opened its final homestand of the season with a much-needed victory, hours after pitcher Andy Pettitte announced his plans to retire — again — following this season.