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The Morning After: With 3 Games Separating 7 Teams, Top of AL is Tight

Lind leads Blue Jays romp of Yankees. Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox haven't played their way into the conversation quite yet -- and Monday's latest loss won't help -- but the American League is setting up to have a heck of a second half, based on the number of teams still within easy reach of a playoff spot.

Entering Tuesday, seven teams are within three games of each other, including a couple of division leaders. Oakland remains well ahead of the rest, but Detroit (40-32) is next, followed by Los Angeles (41-33), Toronto (43-35), Baltimore (40-35), Seattle (41-36), Kansas City (40-36), and New York (39-36).

Here's a look at how things played out around the league on Monday:

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Blue Jays 8, Yankees 3: The Jays scored a total of eight runs while being swept in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium last week -- then matched that total in four innings Monday, when Adam Lind's three-run homer keyed a six-run second. Lind finished with two hits and four RBIs, while Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Dioner Navarro, and Anthony Gose all had multiple hits, as Toronto teed off on Chase Whitley. Mark Teixeira hit his 13th homer for the Yankees, while Jacoby Ellsbury was 0-for-3 and is hitting .189 over his last 10 games.
Toronto is 7.5 up on Boston; New York, 2.5 up.

Orioles 6, White Sox 4: Talking about why he was out of the lineup, Chris Davis was honest Monday afternoon: "It's probably because I've been sucking lately," he said, according to the Baltimore Sun. But by Monday night the league's reigning home run champ had his redemption. Davis came on as a pinch-hitter with two on in the ninth and send a walk-off homer sailing beyond the wall in right field, rescuing an Oriole team on the verge of wasting homers from Adam Jones and Caleb Joseph, and 11 hits off of White Sox ace Chris Sale. With the victory, the O's kept pace with Baltimore, remaining 1.5 games out after a third straight win -- while the White Sox dropped a fifth straight.
Baltimore is 6 games up on Boston; Chicago is even.

Pirates 8, Rays 1: Alex Cobb allowed at least six earned runs for the third time in six starts, with Pedro Alvarez opening things up with a three-run shot in the third, as Pittsburgh pummeled its hosts at Tropicana Field. Former Red Sox first baseman James Loney was the only Ray with more than a hit, using two singles to knock in his 37th run and push his average to .283.
Tampa Bay is 4.5 games behind Boston.


Royals 5, Dodgers 3: The Royals may have entered on a four-game skid, though they showed Zack Greinke that they're no longer the also-rans they were when he was their star. Led by a homer and a double from catcher Salvador Perez, Kansas City tagged Greinke for 11 hits over 5.2 innings, taking command of a game that got close late, thanks to Hanley Ramirez' two-run double and Adrian Gonzalez' 13th homer, but was ultimately in the secure hands of Greg Holland -- who now has 22 saves.
Kansas City is 5.5 games up on Boston.


Jarrod Saltalamacchia's Marlins lost to the Phillies, 4-0, though the catcher did throw out a would-be base stealer for the first time in more than a month, cutting down Jimmy Rollins to snap a streak of 13 straight successful thefts by opponents. The former Sox backstop also walked twice in four trips to the plate ... Adam LaRoche, who played briefly for the Red Sox and who's now sporting a beard that would've fit in quite well a year ago, hit a three-run homer that gave the Gio Gonzalez-buoyed Nationals all the offense they'd need in a 3-0 win over the Brewers ... Another former Sox property, Anthony Rizzo, launched his 16th homer of the season -- but the Reds scored five times in the ninth to beat Rizzo's Cubs, 6-1 ... Lance Lynn (8 scoreless innings) and Matt Adams (two homers, six RBIs) may not have been impressive during last year's World Series, but they delivered the Cardinals an 8-0 win Tuesday ... Ex-Boston lefty Franklin Morales allowed three runs in two innings for Colorado ... Marco Scutaro, the Sox starting second baseman in 2010-11, is scheduled to play three innings in the Arizona League on Tuesday as he recovers from a back injury that has cost him the season to this point. The Padres beat the Giants, 6-0, as Matt Cain yielded six earned runs. The last came when old friend Javier Lopez allowed a double to the only man he faced.


The Twins dealt the Red Sox a fourth loss in five games, needing 10 innings to emerge victorious. Even back then David Ortiz was taking out his aggressions on his former team, launching his 17th homer among two hits three RBIs. Grant Balfour got the win and Joe Nathan the save as Boston fell into a tie with Minnesota and Oakland for the (then single) wild-card slot at 40-31.