Lost night for American League leaders


At this rate, the National League champion isn’t going to be too worried about which team wins the American League title.

Given a chance to clinch the AL East, the New York Yankees lost again.

Given a chance to open a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL West, the Seattle Mariners lost.

Given a chance to overtake Seattle for the division lead, the Oakland Athletics lost.

Given a chance to pull within a half-game of Oakland for the wild card lead, the Cleveland Indians lost.

And given a chance to stay alive in the AL East, Toronto got blown out by the biggest margin a major league team has lost by in 21 years.

“They should have a mercy rule,” Toronto manager Jim Fregosi after Baltimore routed Toronto 23-1 Thursday night.

It was the largest victory margin in the major leagues since Aug. 25, 1979, when the California Angels beat the Blue Jays 24-2.

Toronto’s chances to make the playoffs were remote.

Not so for Oakland, which lost to Anaheim 6-3 in 14 innings, with Troy Glaus starting the final inning with his AL-leading 45th home run.

“We just couldn’t cash in any time we had opportunities,” Oakland manager Art Howe said.

Seattle, which lost to Texas 13-6, leads the AL West at 89-70, with Oakland a half-game back. The Athletics are 1 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland (87 72) in the wild card race.

Oakland is host to Texas in a three-game series this weekend, then goes to Tampa Bay for a makeup game Monday. Seattle finishes with three games at Anaheim, and Cleveland is host to Toronto for a three-game series.

“We’re not dejected, but kind of somber,” Cleveland’s Travis Fryman said after a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Minnesota.

Rangers 13, Mariners 6 At Seattle, Jamie Moyer lasted only 1 2-3 innings in his shortest start of the season. Trailing 5-4, the Rangers went ahead in the fifth off Brett Tomko (7 5) on RBI singles by Chad Curtis and Ruben Sierra. Twins 4, Indians 3 After Fryman’s dramatic ninth-inning home run gave Cleveland a reprieve, Corey Koskie drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th at Jacobs Field with a broken-bat, bases-loaded, fielder’s-choice grounder off Bob Wickman (1-3).

Cleveland wasted a 2-0 lead and split the four-game series against the team with the AL’s worst record coming in.

Orioles 23, Blue Jays 1 Delino DeShields homered and had a career-high five RBIs at Camden Yards. The 23 runs broke the previous franchise record, set in a 22-1 win at Atlanta June 13, 1999. The Orioles raked four pitchers for 23 hits.

Brady Anderson hit his 200th career homer and had four RBIs, and Brook Fordyce also homered for Baltimore, which broke open the game with a 10-run fourth that tied the ream record for runs in an inning.

Devil Rays 11, Yankees 3 New York again failed to clinch the AL East, losing for the 12th time in 15 games as Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep.

Red Sox 7, White Sox 6 Mike Lansing hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth for visiting Boston. Chicago has lost five straight since clinching the AL Central, its worst skid since Sept. 6-9, 1999. Mike Sirotka left after three innings because of elbow discomfort.

Royals 8, Tigers 5 At Kansas City, Jermaine Dye reached twice in a seven-run eighth as the Royals rallied against Todd Jones (0-4). Jose Santiago (8-6) won and Ricky Bottalico got his 16th save.