Jim Thome drives in the game-winning run in the 12th inning for the Baltimore… (Jim Rogash / Getty Images )
If the Baltimore Orioles reach the playoffs, their opponents might hope no game goes into extra innings.
Jim Thome's run-scoring double led the Orioles to a 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings Saturday, Baltimore's 16th consecutive extra-inning victory and the team's sixth consecutive win overall.
Baltimore remained one game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East and moved two games ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card standings.
The veteran Thome, making his first appearance after nearly two months on the disabled list, doubled home Adam Jones to lead the Orioles' three-run 12th inning.
"This situation is not new to him," Jones said of Thome. "He's missed some time, but stepping into that box . . . he always rises to the occasion."
The Yankees edged the Athletics, 10-9, in a wild 14-inning game when Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss misplayed Eduardo Nunez's grounder that allowed Ichiro Suzuki to score.
That was after Oakland, which holds the second of two wild-card spots, took a 9-5 lead into the bottom of the 13th inning at Yankee Stadium, only to have New York storm back with four runs, capped by Raul Ibanez's two-run home run.
The Detroit Tigers, who entered the day 1½ games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, kept up the pressure on Chicago with an 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who leads the AL in runs batted in and batting average, hit his 42nd home run, tying Texas' Josh Hamilton for the league lead and putting him in position to possibly win the triple crown. Doug Fister threw his first career shutout.
"Looked like a golf ball that he hit," Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said of Cabrera's homer. "He's incredible."
The Angels' 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox, paired with Oakland's loss, pulled the Angels to within 2½ games of the Athletics for the second wild-card spot.
In the National League, the Cincinnati Reds clinched the National League Central with a 6-0 win over the Dodgers, while the St. Louis Cardinals tightened their hold on the second NL wild-card berth with a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings.
Cincinnati Manager Dusty Baker remained hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat, and his players videotaped their postgame celebration for him.
"It's a shame he's not here," Reds third baseman Scott Rolen said. "He's missed, there's no doubt about that."
In the race for the second wild-card berth, St. Louis leads the Milwaukee Brewers by 2½ games, the Dodgers by three and the Philadelphia Phillies by four. The Brewers and Phillies also lost.
Times wire services contributed to this report.