Pedro Martinez pitched the Red Sox to their longest winning streak in nine years last night and pulled Boston within 21/2 games of the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Martinez allowed four hits in seven innings, and Manny Ramirez and Bill Mueller homered in a 2-0 victory over the Texas Rangers that extended Boston's winning streak to 10.
The Red Sox, who have won 16 of 17 and 22 of 26, have not been this close to first place since June 12. The Yankees lost to Baltimore, 3-1.
Boston, which trailed by 101/2 games on Aug. 16, is on its longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row from Aug. 3-14, 1995. The Red Sox have lost just once since Aug. 15, when Toronto's Ted Lilly pitched a three-hit shutout to beat Martinez on Aug. 23, and their run has given them a wide lead in the wild-card race, 41/2 games.
"I expected it," Martinez said of Boston's spectacular surge. "I thought we had the talent all the way to have a run like this one."
Martinez (15-5) pitched shutout ball for the second time in five starts, striking out nine, walking one and leaving after matching his season high with 117 pitches.
Mike Timlin and Alan Embree pitched the eighth, and Keith Foulke worked the ninth for his 27th save in 32 opportunities. Boston leads the AL with 11 shutouts.
* TWINS 2, ROYALS 0: Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter through six to lead Minnesota at home.
Desi Relaford lined a clean single to left leading off the seventh to end Santana's bid. Still, the AL's pitcher of the month for July and August won his ninth straight start and further strengthened his credentials as a Cy Young hopeful.
Santana (16-6) gave up one hit and one walk, striking out 11 and throwing 106 pitches. J.C. Romero worked the eighth to extend his club-record scoreless streak to 321/3 innings, and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 38th save in 41 chances to finish the two-hitter.
* ATHLETICS 7, BLUE JAYS 4: Bobby Kielty hit a go-ahead homer off Ted Lilly -- the pitcher he was traded for -- and Nick Swisher doubled and walked twice in his major league debut to lead visiting Oakland.
Tim Hudson won his fourth straight start for the AL West-leading A's, who won for the 15th time in 17 games.
Kielty's two-run homer off Lilly (9-10) gave Oakland a 5-4 lead in the sixth. The A's swapped Lilly for Kielty in the offseason.
* TIGERS 4, DEVIL RAYS 2: Before the storm, visiting Detroit sent Tampa Bay to its seventh straight loss.
The remainder of the three-game series today and tomorrow was postponed because of Hurricane Frances, which was approaching Florida. The games will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 30.
* WHITE SOX 7, MARINERS 5: Juan Uribe homered and Roberto Alomar had a two-run double to lead Chicago at home.
The game was halted for a few minutes in the sixth inning when a man ran across the outfield after Uribe's home run. The man was chased by 11 security guards from right field to left-center and was escorted off the field.
* ANGELS 10, INDIANS 5: Troy Glaus homered for the first time since May 11, and Garret Anderson and Bengie Molina also hit home runs to power Anaheim, which snapped a three-game losing streak.