Evan Longoria hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning and the surging Tampa Bay Rays won their eighth straight game Thursday night in Chicago, handing the White Sox a 3-2 loss that hurts Chicago's playoff hopes.
The Rays pulled within two games of Oakland in the race for the second AL wild card, while the White Sox fell two games behind Detroit in the AL Central after their eighth loss in nine games.
Tampa Bay and Chicago have six games to go, including three more against each other.
The sliding White Sox wasted a handful of opportunities to grab control of the game, continuing their recent struggles to hit with runners on base.
A.J. Pierzynski led off the eighth with a single. Pinch-hitter Dewayne Wise then struck out after failing out to get down a bunt and pinch-runner Jordan Danks was ruled out on a double play on Alexei Ramirez's fly ball when he apparently failed to retouch second base on his way back to first. Chicago left 10 on base.
The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in both the fourth and fifth innings and scored just two runs. Paul Konerko hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the fifth, tying it at 2.
Tigers 5, Royals 4 -- At Detroit: Doug Fister set an AL record by striking out nine straight batters and Detroit kept its lead in the Central, beating Kansas City on Alex Avila's grounder in the ninth inning.
Rangers 9, Athletics 7 -- At Arlington, Texas: Ian Kinsler got Texas started with a leadoff homer, Matt Harrison earned his 18th victory and the AL West-leading Rangers held on to win for a four-game split with chasing Oakland.
Mariners 9, Angels 4 -- At Anaheim, Calif.: John Jaso hit a two-run homer and an RBI double for Seattle, and Los Angeles wasted a golden chance to get within one game of an AL wild-card spot with a loss to the Mariners.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 0 -- At Toronto: Brandon Morrow and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, pitching Toronto over New York that trimmed the Yankees' tight lead in the AL East.
Reds 2, Brewers 1 -- At Cincinnati: Slumping rookie Todd Frazier tied the game with a two-out homer in the ninth inning, Dioner Navarro hit an RBI triple moments later and Cincinnati dealt a major setback to Milwaukee's playoff chances.
The Brewers slipped four games behind idle St. Louis with six to play in the race for the final NL wild card.
All they needed was one more out from closer John Axford (5-8), who had converted his last 15 save chances. Frazier connected on the first pitch for his first homer since Aug. 21, tying it at 1. Jay Bruce singled and came around on Navarro's triple to deep right-center.
Rockies 7, Cubs 5 -- At Denver: Jordan Pacheco and DJ LeMahieu homered, leading Colorado over Chicago for a three-game sweep. Chris Volstad allowed seven runs and 10 hits in three innings for the Cubs.
Mets 6, Pirates 5 -- At New York: R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in more than three decades, leading New York over Pittsburgh behind David Wright's tiebreaking, three-run homer.
Braves 6, Marlins 2 -- At Atlanta: Tommy Hanson earned his first win since July, and Atlanta scored two runs on Miami left fielder Bryan Petersen's error during a victory over the Marlins.
Giants 7, Diamondbacks 3 -- At San Francisco: Midseason acquisitions Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro each hit a two-run homer in the second inning to back Barry Zito, and NL West champion San Francisco beat Arizona in its regular-season home finale.
Nationals 7, Phillies 3 -- At Philadelphia: Gio Gonzalez became the first 21-game winner in the majors, Michael Morse hit two homers and Washington beat Philadelphia to move closer to an NL East title.