A few hours later, the Boston Red Sox clinched at least a wild-card berth with a 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Boston can win the American League East outright on Friday.
The AL wild-card race remained unsettled, with the Texas Rangers again pulling into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot and the Cleveland Indians keeping pace at a half-game behind. The NL Central race got tighter with the Pittsburgh Pirates picking up ground on the St. Louis Cardinals.
AL WILD CARD
Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: Boston starter John Lackey carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Baltimore's Adam Jones broke it up with a home run. Lackey finished with a complete-game two-hitter. The Orioles are two games behind the Rays/Rangers for the second wild-card berth.
BOSTON HERALD: Red Sox saving celebration for East clincher
Rangers 8, Rays 2:Texas managed a split of its four-game series in St. Petersburg. Mitch Moreland, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios homered off Matt Moore in the third inning to give Texas starter Yu Darvish early offensive support. Darvish got the win despite walking six in five innings.
Indians 2, Astros 1 (11 innings): Cleveland struggled with baseball's worst team at home, but it managed to get the win. Journeyman outfielder Matt Carson delivered perhaps the biggest hit of his career, a seeing-eye single to right that drove in the winning run. The Tribe has three more games with Houston this weekend.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 2: New York got the worst of it Thursday with its loss in Toronto. The Bombers are now 3 1/2 out of a postseason berth with just nine games remaining. The Jays' Todd Redmond outdueled Hiroki Kuroda, and Toronto got home runs from Anthony Gose and Adam Lind.
The idle Kansas City Royals fell to three games behind the Rays and Rangers.
Rockies 7, Cardinals 6 (15 innings): St. Louis' bullpen woes continued at Coors Field. Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica surrendered tying runs in the eighth and ninth, respectively, after the Cards had taken a lead. The Rockies finally won the 5-hour, 9-minute marathon on Corey Dickerson's RBI triple. The Redbirds' division lead is down to a game because . . .
. . . Pirates 10, Padres 1: Pittsburgh avoided a four-game sweep by San Diego at home. Rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole struck out 12 over six innings, and Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez homered off Ian Kennedy in the fourth inning to break the game open. The Bucs will begin a huge three-game series Friday in Pittsburgh against the Reds, the team that's right behind them in the division standings.
NL WILD CARD
Nationals 3, Marlins 2: Washington's hopes for the second wild-card berth remain faint, but at least the Nats gained ground on the idle Cincinnati Reds by edging last-place Miami at home. Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer to back the pitching of starter Gio Gonzalez, who started in place of Stephen Strasburg (forearm). The better news for Washington: It has three more games vs. the Marlins while the Reds and Pirates beat up on each other this weekend.
GAMMONS DAILY: Nats remain cautious with Strasburg
Tampa Bay, 83-69, ----
Texas, 83-69, ----
Cleveland, 83-70, 1/2 GB
Baltimore, 81-71, 2 GB
Kansas City, 80-72, 3 GB
NY Yankees, 80-73, 3 1/2 GB
Pittsburgh, 88-65, +1
Cincinnati, 87-66, ----
Washington, 82-71, 5 GB
FRIDAY'S KEY GAMES
All times Eastern
Houston (Oberholtzer 4-3) at Cleveland (McAllister 8-9), 7:05 p.m.
Baltimore (Hammel 7-8) at Tampa Bay (Price 8-8), 7:10 p.m.
Toronto (Rogers 5-7) at Boston (Lester 14-8), 7:10 p.m.
Texas (M.Perez 9-5) at Kansas City (E.Santana 9-9), 8:10 p.m.
Cincinnati (Latos 14-6) at Pittsburgh (Liriano 16-7), 7:05 p.m.
Miami (Ja.Turner 3-7) at Washington (Zimmermann 18-8), 7:05 p.m.
St. Louis (S.Miller 14-9) at Milwaukee (Hellweg 1-4), 8:10 p.m.
San Francisco (Lincecum 10-13) at N.Y. Yankees (Sabathia 13-13), 7:05 p.m.
Contributing: The Associated Press.