Indians apply pressure
Cleveland With only four games left, it doesn't take a degree in mathematics to break down the AL wild-card picture.
"It's getting down there now where even I can count it up and figure it out," Indians manager Charlie Manuel. "What's that tell ya?"
That time's running out on the Indians.
Jason Bere didn't blow another seven-run lead and Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome homered as Cleveland kept pressure on Oakland in the AL wild card race Wednesday night with an 8-2 victory over Minnesota.
Bere (6-3) rebounded from a disastrous start in Boston last week when he gave back a 7-0 lead to the Red Sox, who rallied for a 9-8 win.
That loss could keep the Indians awake at night this winter if they're unable to catch the A's, who beat Anaheim on Wednesday and remained 11/2 games ahead of Cleveland.
The Indians have four games left and the A's four, plus a possible makeup against Tampa Bay on Monday, if necessary.
"Two down, four to go," Manuel said.
Bill Selby, getting a rare start at DH, had two RBIs when the Indians broke it open with a five-run fourth off Brad Radke (12-16).
Thome, in one of the worst slumps of his career, homered for the first time since Sept. 5 a span of 83 at-bats.
Bere has either been real good or real bad in his 11 starts for the Indians since coming over in a July trade with Milwaukee. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 52/3 innings.
Athletics 9, Angels 7
Oakland, Calif. Rookie Terrence Long hit a go-ahead two-run homer as Oakland beat Anaheim. Long's fifth-inning home run, his 18th, broke a 5-all tie in a game that had four lead changes. He also had a sacrifice fly. Darin Erstad's solo home run in the second inning gave him 99 RBIs this season, the most ever for a leadoff batter. Boston's Nomar Garciaparra had 98 in 1997. Erstad was 4-for-5 and needed a triple for the cycle.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 1
Chicago Chicago's Cal Eldred didn't stay past the fourth inning. But with a surgically implanted screw near his right elbow, he did show he can still pitch in the major leagues and be effective. Eldred threw 49 pitches over 31/3 innings, reaching the low 90s mph.
Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0
Baltimore Frank Castillo allowed one hit in six innings to win his ninth straight decision as Toronto kept its faint playoff hopes alive by beating Baltimore. Shannon Stewart opened the game with his 21st homer of the season and Tony Batista hit No. 40 later in the inning as Toronto remained in the AL East title chase. If the Blue Jays lose once more or the Yankees win once, Toronto will be ousted from the playoff picture.
Devil Rays 11, Yankees 1
St. Petersburg, Fla. Jose Guillen, Ozzie Timmons and Fred McGriff homered as Tampa Bay once again prevented the Yankees from clinching the AL East. Cory Lidle (4-6) limited the two-time defending World Series champions to five hits in seven innings. The last-place Devil Rays won for their fourth straight game against a playoff contender.
Mariners 6, Rangers 4
Seattle Kazuhiro Sasaki escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning to keep Seattle in first place in the AL West. The Mariners remained a half-game ahead of Oakland, which beat Anaheim 9-7, for the division lead. With four games left, the Mariners' magic number to make the playoffs is three over Cleveland.