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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 09/14/2011

Leading off: Angels turn to Weaver against Oakland on Wednesday

Game of the day: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland, 3:35 p.m. The Angels are fighting to remain close to the Rangers atop the American League West, and they will turn to their ace Wednesday for a much-needed road win. Right-hander Jered Weaver (16-7) has just a 5.73 ERA over his past six starts, and Weaver is only 5-6 in his career against Oakland. The A’s have lost right-hander Rich Harden’s last three starts after Harden (4-2) tossed seven scoreless innings against Toronto on August 19. Harden is 6-3 with a 3.77 ERA in his career against the Angels.

Other game to watch: Toronto at Boston, 1:35 p.m. Red Sox right-hander John Lackey (12-12) has been abysmal this season, and Boston needs a quality start out of him as the Sox cling to their wild card lead ahead of charging Tampa Bay. Lackey has a stunningly high 6.30 ERA, and has allowed four or more runs in eight of his last nine starts. The Blue Jays have scored the fifth-most runs of any team in the major leagues, so they won’t make it easy on Lackey. Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero (14-10) has an ERA (3.01) that is less than half of Lackey’s, but Romero has an 8.22 ERA in three starts this year against Boston.

Games you should have seen:

St. Louis 6, Pittsburgh 4. Nick Punto hit an RBI double to break a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth inning to help the Cardinals keep pace with the Braves in the National League wild card race. Yadier Molina and Jon Jay also had RBI doubles for the Cardinals, while Daniel Descalso went 3 for 3. St. Louis remains 4 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the National League.

Baltimore 4, Tampa Bay 2. Matt Wieters hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Orioles stunned the Rays to snap their five-game winning streak. Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead on an Evan Longoria home run in the top of the sixth, but Jake Fox tied the game with a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh before Wieters’s decisive blow. The Rays are now 4 1/2 games behind Boston for the American League wild card.

Stat you should know:1. The Phillies’ magic number to become the first team to clinch a playoff spot after they lost Tuesday for the third consecutive game. Philadelphia entered its current series against Houston 46 1/2 games ahead of the Astros in the standings, but the Astros have taken the first two games of the three-game set. Roy Halladay will pitch Wednesday hoping to clinch the Phillies’ fifth-consecutive playoff berth.

Star of the night: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 4 for 5 with two home runs, two doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored Tuesday in Boston’s 18-6 win over Toronto. If the Red Sox’ pitching staff continues to implode, they could use a few more 18-run games from their offense.

Chatter: “No, thanks.” — Retired outfielder Manny Ramirez, when asked Tuesday if he wanted to comment on his arrest for domestic battery. Ramirez allegedly slapped his wife during an argument.

By Greg Schimmel  |  07:00 AM ET, 09/14/2011

 
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