With divisional races all decided, the focus for the remainder of the regular season will be on the wild card races, which are down to just a few teams in both leagues. In the AL, Tampa Bay improved their chances for post-season play with a 6-2 win over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, while the imploding Red Sox got the Bronx treatment, pounded by the Yankees, 9-1.
The Rays fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning as Jose Bautista socked his major league-leading 43rd home run. Rays' starter Jeff Niemann was lifted after just one inning, having given up two run on two hits and two walks. Niemann had had his start pushed back due to a sore back and clearly was not at his best.
Combined with the Red Sox loss to New York, the Rays trailed Boston by 1 1/2 at the end of the day. Tampa could tie the Red Sox for the wild card spot on Sunday if they beat Toronto and Boston drops both of their games to the Yankees. Boston plays a day-night double-dip due to a rain out of Friday's game.
The LA Angels remained relevant with a 4-2 win over the A's, 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. The Angels complete their series with the A's on Sunday.
Blanked for eight innings, the St. Louis Cardinals kept their wild card hopes alive when they scored a pair of run in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 win over the Cubs.
Starter Kyle Lohse kept St. Louis in the game, allowing six hits, but only one run over seven innings, striking out eight. Lohse didn't walk anyone, nor did he receive a decision, though the end result was a positive one, as the Cardinals inched to within two games of the Braves in the NL wild card race. Atlanta was defeated 4-1 at Washington.
When Marmol uncorked a wild pitch to Rafael Furcal, Chambers streaked home from third with the game winner and new life in St. Louis. Marmol (2-6) took the loss. It was his 10th blown save of the season, tops in the majors.