Two of the three AL division leaders improved their advantage on Labor Day, as the Yankees held on for an 11-10 win over Baltimore while the Red Sox lost an 11-inning, 1-0 squeaker in Toronto, putting Boston 2 1/2 back in the East. In the Central, the Tigers dropped second place Cleveland by a 4-2 score, upping their edge to 7 1/2 games.
The West race tightened to 2 1/2 games, with the Angles beating Seattle, 7-3, while the Rangers were losing to Tampa Bay, 5-1.
With the top teams batting for division titles, the White Sox remained relevant by taking two from the Twins, 2-1, and 4-0 in the nightcap.
Chicago got great pitching in both games. Phil Humber blanked the Twins on six hits over seven innings in the day game, but he was outdone by rookie hurler Zach Stewart, who took a no-hitter through seven innings, but yielded a leadoff double to Minnesota's Danny Valencia.
Stewart found the composure to strand Valencia, getting the next three batters in order, then proceeded to fan the first two in the 9th before getting Ben Revere to ground out to end the game, his 1-hit shutout intact. Stewart (2-3) threw 75 of 114 pitches for strikes, didn't walk a batter and struck out nine, getting his first major league complete game shutout, and helping his White Sox to creep to within eight games of the Tigers, and close the gap to 1/2 game behind Cleveland.
|Lee: 6 Shutouts|
The Phillies have led the East all season and extended their advantage to 8 1/2 games with a 9-0 thumping of second place Atlanta. Cliff Lee (16-7) tossed his sixth shutout of the season, allowing just five hits, striking out six without issuing a walk and needing only 100 pitches. He's won his last seven starts, five of them shutouts and has thrown his name into the ring of possible Cy Young candidates. He's tied for third in the league - with teammate Roy Halladay - with 16 wins, is also third in ERA, at 2.47 and his 204 strikeouts are second best, behind Clayton Kershaw's 222.
Lee is the first pitcher to throw six shutouts in a season since Randy Johnson did it for the Mariners in 1998. The Phillies banged out 11 hits, including Ryan Howard's 31st home run of the season, a solo shot in the 7th inning.