BALTIMORE: Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox appear poised to extend their late-season charge deep into October.
Porcello pitched a four-hitter for his major league-high 21st victory, David Ortiz and Mookie Betts hit two-run homers and Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Monday night to extend its lead in the American League East.
Coming off a four-game sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox continued in the opener of an important four-game series for both clubs. Boston has won 10 of 13 and stands atop the division by a season-high four games.
Adam Jones homered and Mark Trumbo picked up his 102nd RBI for the second-place Orioles, who are back in a tie with Toronto for the first AL wild-card spot. Boston’s goal over the next three days will be to put away the Orioles for good.
Porcello (21-4) struck out seven and walked none in his third complete game of the year. Five days earlier against Baltimore, the right-hander gave up one run in eight innings but took the loss.
Toronto capitalized on Baltimore’s loss with a 3-2 win at Seattle after Marco Estrada took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Edwin Encarnacion hit his 41st home run.
Estrada (9-9) had allowed only two walks before Robinson Cano led off the seventh with a line drive up the middle on a 2-1 pitch. Cano and Nelson Cruz walked in the fourth inning, but Estrada otherwise kept the Mariners off the bases.
The Blue Jays and Baltimore were left 2 ½ games clear of idle Detroit and three ahead of Seattle and Houston in wild card reckoning.
Texas moved closer to the AL West title when an RBI single from Ian Desmond with no outs in the ninth inning gave them a 3-2 home win over the Los Angeles Angels.
In Los Angeles, Adrian Gonzalez hit a game-ending double in the ninth as the Dodgers rallied for a testy 2-1 victory over San Francisco that increased their NL West lead to six games.
Two innings after a shoving match broke out when tempers again flared between Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers’ comeback in the ninth began with pinch-hitter Andrew Toles’ leadoff single.
The Chicago Cubs scored a 5-2 home win over Cincinnati, lowering their magic number for clinching home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs to five.
But the New York Mets’ wild card hopes were rocked by a 7-3 home loss to the NL-worst Atlanta Braves. The Mets have a one-game lead over San Francisco and St. Louis for the first NL wild card.
In other games, St. Louis won 5-3 at Colorado, Houston won 4-2 at Oakland, Miami beat the visiting Washington 4-3, Kansas City won 8-3 at home to the Chicago White Sox, and San Diego beat visiting Arizona 3-2.