The Oakland Athletics' hopes of winning the American League West were dashed Thursday with their 9-7 loss to the first-place Texas Rangers, who now have a four-game lead over Oakland with six games to play.
But the Athletics still are clinging to the second AL wild-card berth by two games over the Angels — who failed to capitalize on the Athletics' loss with a 9-4 loss of their own to the Seattle Mariners — and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Oakland now has three games with the Mariners starting Friday while the Angels play three with Texas.
"Hopefully, we can take three from [Seattle] and hopefully those guys over there [the Rangers] can lose a few against the Angels," said A's center fielder Josh Reddick, who hit two home runs Thursday.
The first AL wild-card spot is held by the Baltimore Orioles, who were idle Thursday.
Baltimore also is trying to catch the first-place New York Yankees for the AL East crown, and the Orioles climbed to within one game of New York after the Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-0.
In the AL Central, Detroit edged the Kansas City Royals, 5-4, in a historic game to move two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox, who lost to the surging Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.
The Tigers' Doug Fister struck out a league-record nine Royals in a row.
"It's crazy, to go through a whole lineup and strike everybody out," Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur said.
But after the Royals tied the score in the ninth inning on Billy Butler's solo home run, the Tigers still needed a run in the bottom of the ninth to pull out the win.
They got it when Alex Avila's groundout scored pinch-runner Don Kelly from third base.
The Rays have won eight consecutive games, and Evan Longoria delivered Tampa Bay's game-winning hit Thursday with a solo home run in the ninth inning. The Rays are even with the Angels in the standings.
In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff chances were all but quashed when they lost, 2-1, to the Cincinnati Reds, dropping Milwaukee four games behind the idle St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.
Milwaukee was one out away from shutting out the Reds, but Cincinnati's Todd Frazier hit a home run off Brewers closer John Axford and former Dodger Dioner Navarro hit a run-scoring triple to give the Reds the win."It's a crushing loss," Axford said. "It put us all in a tough spot."
The Dodgers climbed to within three games of the Cardinals in the wild-card race with an 8-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Times wire services contributed to this report.