Porcello pitches complete game in Boston win, more ninth-inning Giants misery
Rick Porcello pitched the third complete game of his career as the Boston Red Sox strengthened their grip on the American League East with a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Porcello went the distance on Monday while Mookie Betts hit his eighth home run at Camden Yards this season, his two-run jack in the third inning helping the Red Sox to a road victory that puts them four games ahead of the Orioles in the division.
Marco Estrada went seven innings without giving up a hit for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. Estrada's bid for a no-hitter was broken up by a Robinson Cano single.
The St. Louis Cardinals are now tied for the second National League wildcard spot after another blown save from the San Francisco Giants.
While the Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3, the Giants surrendered a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning - marking their 30th blown save of the season - in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are now six games up in the NL West.
The New York Mets, beaten 7-3 by the Atlanta Braves, are half a game ahead of the Giants and Cardinals in the first wildcard spot.
Yordano Ventura's first nine-inning complete game saw the Kansas City Royals dispatch the Chicago White Sox 8-3, the Miami Marlins were 4-3 winners over the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs overcame the Cincinnati Reds 5-2.
The Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2, the San Diego Padres edged the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 and the Texas Rangers claimed a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
PORCELLO PUSHES RED SOX CLOSER TO DIVISION
It is looking increasingly inevitable that the Boston Red Sox will win the AL East after an excellent performance from Porcello.
Porcello struck out seven and did not walk a single batter as he moved to 21-4 on the year and further padded his Cy Young Award resume.
Meanwhile, Betts continued his excellent form at Camden Yards with his 31st homer of the season.
CAN NOBODY SAVE THE GIANTS?
It does not seem to matter who they turn to, the Giants appear simply incapable of closing a game in the ninth inning.
Madison Bumgarner - whose fiery exchange with Yasiel Puig saw the benches clear at Dodger Stadium - struck out 10 batters in an excellent seven-inning performance.
It looked as if that effort and the run scored on Clayton Kershaw's wild pitch would be enough, but Justin Turner hit a single off Javier Lopez to score Andrew Toles and Hunter Strickland could not rescue the situation for the Giants and send the game to extras, Adrian Gonzalez's walk-off double piling more misery on Bruce Bochy's club.
CANO ENDS ESTRADA NO-NO BID
Marco Estrada had plenty of batters swiping at thin air in his sensational showing at Safeco Field.
However, the Blue Jays pitcher, who struck out eight through his seven innings, saw his no-no bid ended when Cano hit a lead-off single on a sharp ground ball to center field.
Leonys Martin's ninth-inning home run threatened to spoil things completely for the Jays, but - unlike the Dodgers - the Mariners could not complete a late comeback.
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez (15-8, 2.99 ERA) will face off against Tanner Roark (15-8, 2.75 ERA) as Miami desperately try to get back into playoff contention following a much-needed win on Monday. The Marlins have won four out of their last six games.