Alex Rios hit his career-high 25th homer and the White Sox gave their fading playoff hopes a boost in Chicago, beating Tampa Bay 3-1 on Friday night to end the Rays' eight-game winning streak.
The White Sox got a bit of a reprieve after dropping eight of nine and moved within a game of first-place Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers lost to Minnesota 4-2.
The Rays began the night two games behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card spot. But they came up short in this one, ending a streak that launched them back into playoff contention.
Cardinals 12, Nationals 2: Allen Craig matched his career best with four hits to go with two RBIs, Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run and the St. Louis Cardinals punished Edwin Jackson and the Washington Nationals early to win a matchup of teams on the cusp of clinchers.
Roger Bernadina homered for Washington, which had its magic number for wrapping up the NL East reduced to two when Atlanta lost to the Mets. The Nationals, who secured the first postseason berth for Washington, D.C., since 1933 a week earlier, lead the Braves by four games with five to play and could wrap up the division title Saturday night.
Adam Wainwright (14-13) halted a string of four so-so starts with six solid innings for the Cardinals, whose magic number is three for securing the second NL wild card.