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On 09/16/2011 05:08 AM in MLB

American League Game Capsules (Thursday, September 15th)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 9, Boston 2

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - As American League wild card hopefuls, the Tampa Bay Rays looked to be at their fighting weight. The fading Boston Red Sox seemed punchless. Evan Longoria, Casey Kotchman and B.J. Upton all homered Thursday night and the Rays moved within three games of the wild card-leading Red Sox with a 9-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park. It was Tampa Bay's sixth straight win over Boston and fourth in less than a week after a weekend sweep at home. The Red Sox, after mustering just six hits against starter Jeremy Hellickson and four Rays relievers, fell to 3-11 in September. Longoria hit a three-run homer in the third inning to cap a four- run rally that proved to be all the offense Tampa Bay needed to improve to 9-3 in its last 12 games. Later, Kotchman and Upton belted two-run homers in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

Final Score: Texas 7, Cleveland 4

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Josh Hamilton homered for a third straight contest and Alexi Ogando pitched six shutout innings, as the Rangers earned a 7-4 win to sweep the Indians in a three-game series and widen their lead atop the AL West. Michael Young had a three-run double and Adrian Beltre followed in the fifth inning with two-run homer, as Texas won its fourth in a row and moved 3 1/2 games ahead of the Angels in the division. The Rangers head to Seattle this weekend, while Los Angeles travels to Baltimore. Ogando (13-8) allowed two hits, walked two and had four strikeouts to win for the first time in his last five starts. It was his first triumph at home since July 6 against the Orioles.

Final Score: Kansas City 7, Chicago 2

Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Billy Butler crushed a three-run homer and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot en route to a 4-for-5 night as the Kansas City Royals pounded the Chicago White Sox 7-2 in the opener of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Salvador Perez smacked three hits, coming a home run shy of the cycle and Eric Hosmer tacked on a pair of hits for the Royals, winners of five straight games for the first time since September 7-11, 2009. Jeff Francis (6-16) was solid in his final outing of the season, giving up two runs on eight hits over six innings. A.J. Pierzynski went 3-for-4 with a double and Gordon Beckham added a double for the White Sox, who have lost five straight and were officially eliminated from the race for the American League Central Division crown.

Final Score: Oakland 6, Detroit 1

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Detroit's 12-game winning streak is history, but the Tigers have clinched at least a tie for the AL Central title and could lock up their first division championship since 1987 this weekend in the Bay Area. Brandon McCarthy pitched seven strong innings and the Athletics got homers from three different players off Max Scherzer in a 6-1 victory over the Tigers in the opener of a four-game series. Cleveland's loss at Texas Thursday night secured the Tigers at least a tie for the AL Central crown. Detroit can secure its first playoff berth since 2006 and just its second since 1987 Friday night with either a win or a Cleveland defeat at Minnesota. Detroit's 12-game run was the longest for the team since 14-game surge in 1934, but David DeJesus clubbed a three-run homer, while Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington added solo shots Thursday night.

09/16 01:02:04 ET