- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2011

OAKLAND, CALIF. (AP) - Coco Crisp hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics beat the first-place Texas Rangers 4-3 on Thursday to avoid a series sweep.

The reigning AL champion Rangers had their magic number for winning the West Division reduced to two when the Angels lost to Toronto later Thursday night.

Texas, which started the day with a five-game lead over Los Angeles, headed home for three games with the Mariners before ending the regular season at Anaheim.

Grant Balfour (5-2) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the win, then Andrew Bailey finished for his 21st save in 23 chances as the A’s snapped Texas’ four-game winning streak.

Crisp’s hit came against Mike Adams (1-3) and helped stop a three-game skid.

Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba left in the eighth after experiencing a headache following a foul tip.

Rays 15, Yankees 8

NEW YORK (AP) _ Matt Moore struck out 11 in five innings of his first major league start and the Rays unloaded on the watered-down Yankees a night after New York clinched the AL East title.

The Rays avoided a four-game sweep and pulled within two games on idle Boston in the AL wild-card race. Both teams have six games left.

Before this game, New York catcher Russell Martin declared how much he hated the Red Sox and would like to see them miss the playoffs. Tampa Bay took advantage of four Yankees errors and romped.

B.J. Upton was a double shy of the cycle in four at-bats, Ben Zobrist homered among his three hits and Johnny Damon also connected for Tampa Bay. Facing a lineup of backups and rookies, the Rays roughed up Bartolo Colon and led 13-0 in the fifth inning.

Twins 3, Mariners 2

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Rene Tosoni hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins snapped their 11-game losing streak, beating the Seattle Mariners.

The Twins avoided another sweep and won for just the second time in 17 games. This was the third-longest skid in Minnesota’s 51-season history, behind a 14-game slide in 1982 and a 13-game drought in 1961, the first year the franchise moved from Washington.

Trevor Plouffe drew a two-out walk from Steve Delabar (1-1) and Tosoni followed with a drive that hopped off the right-field wall. Plouffe slid home, easily beating the relay.

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