The Boston Red Sox are putting some distance between them and the rest of the AL wild-card contenders.
Derek Lowe pitched effectively into the eighth inning, and the Red Sox took control of the wild-card race last night by completing a three-game sweep of the visiting Anaheim Angels with a 4-3 win -- their season-high ninth straight victory.
"This is a special run that we are going on," Lowe said. "Especially the time of year, we are getting clutch hits, the defense was phenomenal. We're having fun."
The Angels, who entered the week trailing Boston by 11/2 games, had won 10 of 11 games before running into the surging Red Sox. Boston won despite stranding 14 runners and misplaying a pair of fly balls in the outfield.
"It says that we're playing pretty well right now," said Johnny Damon, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI. "We have another tough team coming in, in Texas. We just have to keep playing tough."
* ATHLETICS 4, WHITE SOX 2: Mark Redman joined Oakland's double-digit victory club by throwing seven strong innings. He wanted more.
"Guys were shaking my hand. I didn't want to shake anyone's hand," Redman said after pitching visiting Oakland past Chicago.
"I went straight to [Manager] Ken Macha and said I want 120 pitches."
Redman settled for 102 pitches and a victory -- the 14th in 16 games for the AL West-leading A's. He left after retiring his final 13 batters. Redman (10-10) became the fourth Oakland pitcher to reach 10 wins, joining Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder.
* YANKEES 9, INDIANS 1: Gary Sheffield had three RBI to reach 100 for the seventh time, Jon Lieber pitched seven shutout innings and Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer to lead New York over visiting Cleveland.
With its AL East lead over second-place Boston cut to 31/2 games from 101/2 on Aug. 16, the Yankees have faced a torrent of questions this week, especially following Tuesday night's 22-0 loss to the Indians. New York rebounded with a 5-3 victory Wednesday, then took a 6-0 lead after two innings last night.
"A game like that can wake you up," Sheffield said. "We looked like we were just trying to get the schedule over with. We got a wake-up call. Now we've got a pennant race going."
* TWINS 2, RANGERS 0: In Minneapolis, Brad Radke had a season-high nine strikeouts in eight shutout innings to give Minnesota a three-game sweep of Texas.
Radke (10-7) had the Rangers off balance all night, striking out the side in the forth and retiring eight straight during one stretch. He allowed five hits and walked one in Minnesota's seventh shutout.
* BLUE JAYS 8, MARINERS 6: Ichiro Suzuki got three more hits, but Orlando Hudson and Vernon Wells homered to lead Toronto over visiting Seattle.
Ichiro, chasing George Sisler's major league record for hits in a season, went 3 for 5 and has 217 hits. He has 29 games left to break Sisler's mark of 257 hits set in 1920 with the St. Louis Browns.