The Los Angeles Angels are in perfect position to wrap up the AL West before the final weekend this year.
Steve Finley hit a two-run homer, John Lackey pitched six strong innings, and the Angels moved within one victory of clinching their second straight division title with a 4-3 win over the Athletics last night in Oakland, Calif.
The Angels opened a five-game lead and lowered their magic number to two. They will send 10-game winner Ervin Santana to the mound against lefty Joe Kennedy to try to finish off the A's tonight.
Lackey didn't allow a hit until Jay Payton singled to center to start the fifth, when Oakland got a two-run double by Jason Kendall. Eric Chavez hit a solo homer in the eighth for the A's.
Lackey (13-5) retired his first eight batters before loading the bases in the third. He gave up back-to-back two-out walks to No. 9 hitter Nick Swisher and Mark Ellis, then plunked Kendall. But Lackey got Mark Kotsay to strike out swinging to end the threat.
The A's needed a four-game sweep of their division rival to have any realistic chance of avoiding their second straight year without a playoff berth.
Tigers 4, White Sox 3 -- Curtis Granderson's leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted host Detroit over Chicago.
Chicago's lead in the AL Central dropped to two games over idle Cleveland and its magic number remained at five to clinch the division. The White Sox had a 15-game lead Aug. 1, and if they fail to finish in first it would be one of the biggest collapses in baseball history.
Brandon Inge hit two homers for the Tigers, who have won three straight after an eight-game losing streak.
Cliff Politte (6-1) gave up the homer to Granderson and Fernando Rodney (2-3) pitched the ninth for the win.
In the eighth, the White Sox blew a chance to break a 3-all tie with runners on second and third and one out. A.J. Pierzynski struck out against Jamie Walker and Chris Spurling got the Tigers out of the jam by striking out Jermaine Dye.
Royals 5, Twins 0 -- Rookie J.P. Howell pitched five hitless innings before he was pulled and Angel Berroa homered to help visiting Kansas City hand Minnesota its fourth straight loss.