Esteban Loaiza had won five consecutive games -- all against teams with losing records. Last night, he beat the team leading the wild-card race.
Loaiza allowed three runs in six innings to win his sixth straight decision, and Rafael Palmeiro drove in three runs as the Texas Rangers notched a 4-3 triumph over the visiting Boston Red Sox.
Loaiza is 5-0 in six starts since joining the rotation on July 24. He is also 6-1 since coming off the disabled list July 4 after breaking his hand in a car door.
Loaiza gave up five hits in six-plus innings, striking out five and walking three. Texas is unbeaten in all seven of his starts.
"I'm just moving the ball around, hitting my spots and the corners, and mixing up my pitches," said Loaiza (6-1), who had an earned run average over 7.00 as a reliever. "I'm just looking at the glove and throwing the ball there."
Boston, one game ahead of Oakland in the wild-card race, trailed 4-0 before Butch Huskey homered on the first pitch of the fifth, ending Loaiza's consecutive scoreless innings streak at 13 2/3.
John Wetteland pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 41 chances, tying Mariano Rivera of the Yankees for the major league lead.
Mark Portugal (7-11) allowed all four runs and nine hits in six innings and dropped to 0-4 against Texas.
Palmeiro's two-run homer in the second was his fourth in five games and 34th this season. Palmeiro has 348 career homers, moving him into a tie with George Foster for 55th on the career list.
BLUE JAYS 11, ATHLETICS 0: Darrin Fletcher drove in five runs and Joey Hamilton allowed three hits in six scoreless innings as visiting Toronto snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Fletcher had a three-run double in the fifth and added a two-run homer as the Blue Jays scored five in the eighth. His five RBI matched his career high.
The loss kept Oakland a game behind Boston in wild-card race. The Blue Jays pulled within one game of Oakland and two games of the Red Sox.
YANKEES 9, TWINS 3: In Minneapolis, Ricky Ledee hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs to spark New York. Ledee hit a grand slam in the first off Brad Radke (9-12) and added an RBI single in a three-run ninth off Mike Trombley, going 2 for 5 to raise his season batting average to .305.
Bernie Williams, who did not start the previous three games due to a stomach illness, had a pair of RBI singles for the Yankees.
Hideki Irabu (10-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, walking one and striking out seven. He has won nine of his last 10 decisions.
INDIANS 7, MARINERS 4: In Seattle, Bartolo Colon pitched two-hit ball for 5 1/3 innings before leaving with tightness in his left knee and Roberto Alomar and Richie Sexson homered as Cleveland stopped the Mariners' four-game winning streak.
Colon (13-4), who has won three straight starts, struck out six and walked two. Mike Jackson pitched the ninth for his 28th save.
ANGELS 5, TIGERS 1: Chuck Finley pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game this year to lead Anaheim at home. Finley (8-10), who allowed a fifth-inning homer to Damian Easley, struck out five and walked two.
DEVIL RAYS 5, ROYALS 4: John Flaherty hit a two-run homer and forced home the winning run when he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning to lead host Tampa Bay. Jose Canseco made his first appearance since back surgery on July 11 and went 0 for 2 for the Devil Rays.