OAKLAND, California (AP) — Texas closed within 2 ½ games of American League West leader Oakland by beating the Athletics 8-3 on Friday, with Nelson Cruz setting aside the possibility of an upcoming doping suspension and hitting a tying two-run homer for the Rangers.
Jurickson Profar added another two-run shot for Texas, which was six games behind the A's early in the week but had sliced that right back.
Among other games Friday, St. Louis scored 13 runs for the second straight game to beat National League Central rival Cincinnati, Cody Ross capped his big game with the tiebreaking homer as Arizona edged his old team Boston, and Colorado arrested a four-game skid by defeating high-flying Pittsburgh.
Atlanta extended its winning streak to eight games by beating Philadelphia, Madison Bumgarner pitched San Francisco past Tampa Bay, and Baltimore's Chris Davis notched homer #40 for the season as the Orioles beat Seattle.
Texas' Cruz, who is among 14 players facing suspension as part of MLB's doping investigation whose sanctions will be announced next week, hit his 26th home run in the second inning. Profar put the Rangers ahead 6-2 in the fourth.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone (9-9) allowed six runs — including both homers — and lasted just 3 2-3 innings.
St. Louis' David Freese set the tone with a bases-loaded double in the first inning as the Cardinals crushed Cincinnati 13-3.
Daniel Descalso hit two of three homers for the Cardinals whose past two games had emphatically ended a hitting slump.
Arizona's Cody Ross capped his four-hit return to Fenway Park with a tie-breaking homer that gave Arizona a 7-6 win over Boston.
Ross, Boston's regular right fielder last season, drove in three runs, doubled twice and singled once. His big hit came with the score tied 6-6 when he led off the seventh inning against Pedro Beato (1-1).
Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin allowed one run over eight innings to guide the Rockies to a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh.
Chacin (10-5) stayed in the game after being hit by taking a sharp line drive in the fifth inning.
Rockies veteran Todd Helton had a two-run single, 16 years to the day after making his major-league debut.
Atlanta's Brian McCann and Chris Johnson hit consecutive homers in a five-run fifth inning to lead the in-form Braves over Philadelphia 6-4.
McCann's two-run shot gave the Braves a 4-2 lead just two batters after Justin Upton tied it on an RBI single. Johnson's homer gave the Braves a 5-2 lead.
San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner struck out 11 in seven innings to steer the Giants to a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Bumgarner (11-7) gave up one run, working around seven hits and three walks.
Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who have won three in a row.
Baltimore beat Seattle 11-8 with Davis' milestone homer outdone by teammate Nate McLouth's first career grand slam.
Davis drove a pitch over the right-field wall — traveling an estimated 442 feet — to give Baltimore a 5-3 lead in the third inning and also give him a major-league high 101 RBIs.
He is the fifth Oriole to hit 40 homers in a season, joining Brady Anderson (50), Frank Robinson (49), Jim Gentile (46) and Rafael Palmeiro (43).
McLouth connected off Brandon Maurer to make it 11-6 in the sixth, and that was enough to fend off the Mariners, who closed the gap in the eighth with two solo shots.
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 to match an 89-year-old club record with a 12th straight road win, but did see hot-hitting Mark Ellis and manager Don Mattingly both ejected.
San Diego's Everth Cabrera — another facing a doping suspension — tied his career high with four hits as the Padres beat the faltering New York Yankees 7-2.
Cleveland's eight-game winning streak came to a grinding halt with a 10-0 loss at Miami, with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez striking out 14 batters; the most by an NL pitcher this season.
Kansas City too saw a lengthy winning run — nine games in its case — ended, beaten 4-2 in 11 innings by the New York Mets, with Eric Young Jr. coming up with the winning homer.
Detroit's Doug Fister pitched eight impressive innings to guide the Tigers to a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox in a meeting of two teams heading rapidly in different directions form-wise.
Los Angeles' Kole Calhoun punctuated his first four-hit game with his first career homer, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth inning that lifted the Angels to a 7-5 win over Toronto.
Washington's Jordan Zimmermann earned his career-high 13th win of the season as the Nationals downed Milwaukee 4-1.
Minnesota's Brian Dozier got his third hit of the game to drive in Clete Thomas in the 13th inning and give the Twins a 4-3 victory over Houston.