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White Sox pad lead in AL Central

CHICAGO (AP) ― Alex Rios went barreling into second base with a hard slide that teammate Gordon Beckham said might be the biggest play of the season for the White Sox as they try to win the AL Central.

Rios was trying to break up a double play and when he went into Detroit second baseman Omar Infante, it caused an errant throw that allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score Monday as the White Sox beat the Tigers 5-4 and went up three games in division.

“That’s a situation where every second baseman knows we’re coming in hard. And it was a clean slide, and we took advantage of that,” Rios said. “We scored two runs on that play and ended up winning the game, so it was a big play.” 
 
Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante tries to complete a double play in the fifth inning on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante tries to complete a double play in the fifth inning on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)

The game had been postponed by rain last Thursday and Monday’s makeup was the final meeting of the season between the two front runners in the division.

Detroit won the season series 12-6 and captured nine of the final 11 games between the teams, including two of three last week before the four-game series finale was postponed.

Each team has 16 games remaining. Chicago heads to Kansas City and Anaheim to finish out this week while Detroit goes home to face the Athletics and Twins.

“There is still a lot of time left for both teams. ... We just got to continue to grind and hope that what we do every day, day in and day out, is enough,” Beckham said. “This is probably still going to go down to the wire.”

Rios’ fifth-inning slide was the talk of the locker room after the game as was Chicago’s bullpen that pitched five scoreless innings after starter Jose Quintana struggled.

“That was a tough play for that second baseman to make that turn. I’ve been there before,” Beckham said. “It’s everything you can do to just get it off. What a great slide and I just told him (Rios) that might be the play of the year so far. Pretty special.”

When Dayan Viciedo hit a one-out grounder to short, the Tigers tried to turn the inning-ending double play, but Rios’ slide forced an errant throw from Infante that got by Prince Fielder as two runs scored, giving Chicago the lead. And then the bullpen held it.

Ellsbury powers Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) ― The Tampa Bay Rays are slipping out of playoff contention and tempers are getting a little short.

Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in three runs, Aaron Cook stopped his five-game losing streak and the Boston Red Sox beat the sliding Rays 5-2 on Monday night.

Tampa Bay, coming off a 1-5 road trip to Baltimore and New York, fell 5 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. The Rays started play four games back of the Orioles ― who were at Seattle later Monday night ― for the second AL wild-card spot.

“We’re going to have to find a way to bounce out of it,” said Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton, who had three of the team’s six hits.

The Rays have scored just 21 runs over the last seven games.

“This has been ongoing. ... This is a seasonal misadventure,” manager Joe Maddon said of his club’s struggling offense. “We’ve been able to remain solvent because our pitching has been so good.”

Tampa Bay leads the AL with a 3.27 ERA. The last five AL teams to finish a season with an ERA as low as the Rays’ current figure all advanced to the World Series.

Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb and catcher Jose Molina got into a heated discussion in the dugout after the top of the sixth when Boston took a 2-1 advantage. There was a wild pitch and passed ball during the inning.

“We’re both really into that game, and we needed to win that game,” Cobb said. “I honestly don’t really know what the argument was about, still. We’ll work things out. We’ll talk about it tomorrow, or whatever, and leave it behind us.”

Molina declined to comment as he was leaving the clubhouse.

“I’m not unhappy,” Maddon said. “That’s overblown sometimes. That can actually be a good thing. It’s fine right now. We discussed everything. It’s all good.”

Philadelphia 3, NY Mets 1

Atlanta 7, Miami 5

Baltimore 10, Seattle 4

San Francisco 2, Colorado 1

Pittsburgh 3, Chicago 0
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