Morning Newsletter

Rays, Cards tighten wild-card races

Detroit's Austin Jackson was tagged out at home plate by Baltimore catcher Craig Tatum Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers won 10-6.
Detroit's Austin Jackson was tagged out at home plate by Baltimore catcher Craig Tatum Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers won 10-6. AP

Rays 5, Blue Jays 2: B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist homered in the first inning to back Wade Davis, and Tampa Bay beat visiting Toronto to pull within a half-game of the Boston Red Sox for the AL wild-card lead.

Evan Longoria and Kelly Shoppach also homered for the Rays, who have won 27 games in a row when scoring five runs or more. Davis (11-10) allowed two runs and three hits in eight innings.

Nine games back of the Red Sox heading into play on Sept. 4, Tampa Bay would move into a tie for the wild-card lead if the Yankees completed a sweep of Boston in their day-night doubleheader. The second game went into extra innngs, tied 4-4

Yankees 6, Red Sox 2: Boston lost yet again, with A.J. Burnett making his most impressive start in nearly three months and Jorge Posada hitting a two-run homer in the first game of a doubleheader.

The Red Sox have lost four straight and at 5-18 (.217) are on track for their worst September since going 4-18 (.182) in 1926. Tim Wakefield (7-8) dropped to 1-5 in his last 10 starts.

Derek Jeter had three hits to lift his average to .300 at the end of the game for the first time since April 2.

National League

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: St. Louis pulled within one game of Atlanta in the NL wild-card race as Rafael Furcal hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning.

St. Louis trailed Atlanta by 101/2 games on Aug. 26, but the Cardinals have won 15 of their last 20.

The Cardinals close with a three-game series at Houston, which has the worst record in the major leagues, while Atlanta hosts Philadelphia, which has the best mark.

Making what might have been his final home appearance for the Cardinals, Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 — ending his streak of reaching base in 40 successive games. The three-time NL MVP, who is eligible for free agency after the season, received a 45-second standing ovation during his first at-bat. He stepped out of the batter's box and tipped his helmet.

Nationals 3, Braves 0: The top four hitters in the Braves' lineup, including Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla, went a combined 0-for-16 with five strikeouts, and their pitchers allowed two homers as Atlanta's road to a playoff berth took another detour. The Braves have dropped 10 of its past 15 games.

Reds 5, Pirates 4: Dontrelle Willis scattered three hits over six innings and knocked in two runs with a double to pick up his first win of the season. Willis (1-6) gave up three runs, walked two and struck out six to finally break through in his 13th start.