UNDATED (AP) — All tied with eight games to play. That's where the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox find themselves atop the American League Central.
Anibal Sanchez fired a three-hitter and the Tigers pulled even with Chicago by downing the Royals 2-0. Prince Fielder and Delmon Young provided RBI singles in the first inning to support Sanchez's first shutout in over a year.
The Tigers were given a chance to move into a first-place tie when the Chicago White Sox lost 4-3 to Cleveland in the afternoon. The Indians built a 4-0 lead and hung on despite solo homers by A.J. Pierzynski (peer-ZIHN'-skee), Dayan Viciedo (DY'-an vihs-ee-AY'-doh) and Paul Konerko. The White Sox had the potential tying run in scoring position when Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout.
Chicago held a three-game division lead the morning of Sept. 19.
The New York Yankees remain a game and a-half ahead of second-place Baltimore in the AL East after both teams lost.
Denard Span hit a two-run double while Minnesota was scoring four times in the seventh to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-4 win over the Yankees. The Bombers wasted homers by Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and pinch-hitter Andruw Jones.
Baltimore was shut out by Toronto 4-0 as Aaron Laffey combined with five relievers on a six-hitter. The Orioles loaded the bases in the ninth on an error and a pair of walks before closer Casey Janssen got Ryan Flaherty to pop out.
The AL West race is also a little tighter after George Kottaras (kah-TAH'-rahs) led off the 10th inning with a homer to lift Oakland past Texas 3-2. Chris Carter tied it with a fourth-inning solo shot before the Athletics moved within four games behind the division-leading Rangers.
The A's also moved within a half-game of Baltimore for the first wild-card spot.
The Angels remain two games behind Oakland after Zack Greinke allowed only a run while striking out a season-high 13 over five innings of a 5-4 win over Seattle. Torii Hunter belted a two-run homer and Erick Aybar (EYE'-bahr) added a solo shot in the win.
Tampa Bay made it six straight wins as the Rays try to catch Oakland in the wild-card standings. David Price improved to 19-5 after tossing a seven-hitter while striking out 13 in the Rays' 5-2 verdict over Boston. Jeff Keppinger's (KEHP'-ihn-jurz) three-run blast was the difference as Tampa Bay ran its winning streak to six games.
Over to the National League, where the Atlanta Braves clinched a playoff berth with a dramatic 4-3 win over Florida. Freddie Freeman won it with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, two innings after Donovan Solano's second homer of the ninth put the Marlins ahead.
Chipper Jones led off the ninth with a double, scored twice and drove in a run for the Braves.
Washington's lead in the NL East is down to four games over Atlanta following the Nationals' 6-3 loss at Philadelphia. Homers by Darin Ruf, Carlos Ruiz and Domonic Brown helped Cole Hamels earn his career-high 16th victory. It also kept the Nats' magic number at five.
Johnny Cueto (KWAY'-toh) picked up his 19th victory by allowing two runs and five hits over seven innings of Cincinnati's 4-2 triumph over Milwaukee. The outcome put the Brewers 4 ½ games behind St. Louis for the NL's final wild-card berth.
The Cardinals picked up their fourth consecutive win as Jaime Garcia scattered six hits in seven innings of a 4-0 shutout of Houston. Jon Jay drove in two runs for the defending World Series champs.
The Dodgers were 2-1 losers in San Diego, putting Los Angeles 4 ½ games behind the Redbirds in the wild-card race. Edinson Volquez outpitched Josh Beckett by limiting the Dodgers to six hits in seven scoreless innings.
Also in the NL, Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs as Arizona whipped San Francisco 7-2. Aaron Hill had three hits and scored three times in the Diamondbacks' seventh victory in nine games.
Pedro Alvarez launched a three-run homer and had four RBIs as Pittsburgh outscored the New York Mets 10-6. Alvarez smacked his 30th homer of the season while the Pirates were scoring seven times in the first two innings.
Wilin Rosario and Matt McBride homered as Colorado doubled up the Chicago Cubs 10-5 in a game that was called after 6 ½ innings due to rain. DJ LeMahieu had three hits and finished a home run short of the cycle.
Reds manager Baker won't return until next week
CINCINNATI (AP) — Reds manager Dusty Baker has told his players on Tuesday that he had a mini-stroke in addition to his irregular heartbeat last week. Baker will need another week of rest before he's able to rejoin the team for the final regular season series and the playoffs. The Reds clinched their second NL Central title in the last three years over the weekend while Baker was still in a Chicago hospital.
Ventura tweaks rotation for title chase
CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy (PEE'-vee) has been pushed back a day and will start Thursday's series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura will give reliever Hector Santiago a spot start in today's series finale against Cleveland.
NFL OK with Monday outcome as labor talks resume
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL has weighed in on the call that allowed the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on Monday night. So have President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, along with numerous players and a host of gamblers.
The league says the replacement officials made the correct call not to overturn Seahawks receiver Golden Tate's 24-yard scoring reception. However, the NFL also said Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference before the catch but pointed out that penalties can't be reviewed by instant replay. A flag would have clinched the game for the Packers.
Obama said the disputed call was "terrible" and declared it's time to get the regular NFL officiating crews back on the job. Obama said -- quote -- "I've been saying for months we've got to get our refs back."
Romney and GOP running mate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin native, also said it was time to bring back the "real refs."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was still angry about the call a day later. He said on his weekly radio show on ESPN 540-AM in Milwaukee that - quote - "Our sport is generated — the multibillion-dollar machine — is generated by people who pay good money to watch us play. And the product that's on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials."
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is staying out of the chorus of complainers about replacement officials, saying they're doing the best they can. He says the game officials are not responsible for the Patriots' 1-2 start and puts the blame on himself and the team. The Patriots lost 31-30 at Baltimore Sunday night on a last-play field goal that came close to the right upright.
And Las Vegas oddsmakers say $300 million or more changed hands worldwide on the controversial referee call that decided the Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle. Gambling expert RJ Bell of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com says he thinks two-thirds of bets worldwide were on the Packers, and that sports books took in at least $150 million because of the call.
The rainbow amid the dark clouds is that the league resumed negotiations with locked-out officials today.
Mays paying the piper
UNDATED (AP) — Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays has been suspended for this week's game against the Raiders and fined $50,000 by the NFL for his hit on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (shawb) last Sunday. Mays drew a roughing-the-passer penalty for his third-quarter hit on Schaub, who lost part of his earlobe when his helmet flew off.
A person familiar with the process says Mays will appeal.
In other NFL news, the Buffalo Bills have released veteran punter Brian Moorman and replaced him with free agent Shawn Powell. Moorman had been with the Bills since 2001 and twice was selected to the Pro Bowl. But he had struggled this season with a net average of 32.7 yards per punt.
Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham is free on $7,000 bond after being arrested on misdemeanor charges. The police officer who arrested Abraham says the football player was "obviously intoxicated" as he refused requests to leave an area taped off by firefighters and police on Monday night.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN SERIES
Irish opting out
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Notre Dame has notified Michigan it is exercising a three-year out in their contract. That means their last scheduled game against each other will come in 2014, 127 years after their first meeting.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon tells the AP that Notre Dame counterpart Jack Swarbrick handed him a letter before Saturday's 13-6 loss to the Fighting Irish cancelling games in 2015, 16 and 17. The Irish recently decided to move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in sports other than in football with a provision to play five football games a year against league opponents
Clippers' Barnes pleads no contest in driving case
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of unlicensed driving and resisting arrest.
Barnes has been sentenced to two years of probation, ordered Barnes to complete 30 hours of community service and attend 13 counseling sessions with a private therapist.
Authorities say Barnes resisted arrest when a Manhattan Beach police officer attempted to take him into custody in July on an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license.
New talks set
TORONTO (AP) — The NHL and its locked-out players are to return to the bargaining table Friday.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHL Players' Association special counsel Steve Fehr (feer) met Tuesday in Toronto and scheduled the session. The site has not been set.
These will be the first formal negotiations since Sept. 12, when the players and owners exchanged proposals.
Neither of those offers gained much traction and the lockout started at midnight on Sept. 16, the day training camps were scheduled to open.
Clubs are feeling the pinch. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Blues have laid off what is believed to just under 20 front-office workers. The Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators already have had layoffs. Other teams have said they could do so depending on how long the lockout lasts.
Nadal doesn't know when he'll return
LONDON (AP) — Rafael Nadal still has no timetable for his return from a knee injury.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion is recovering from a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee that has kept him off the court since a second-round loss at Wimbledon.
In interviews with European newspapers Tuesday, Nadal says he's not sure how soon he'll be back or whether he'll play in the Australian Open in January.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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