One night after securing their first playoff appearance since 2009, the Red Sox added their first division title since '07. Boston entered the night with a magic number of one — meaning the next Red Sox win or Rays loss would clinch the division.
Lester (15-8) allowed one run on five hits and two walks, striking out eight to win for the seventh time in nine decisions. It was his 100th career victory.
Toronto pinch-hitter Adam Lind hit a two-run homer off Junichi Tazawa in the eighth to make it 5-3 before Koji Uehara got five outs for his 20th save. With the crowd standing for most of the final inning, he struck out Brett Lawrie to end the game and the Red Sox poured out of the dugout and bullpen.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits for the Red Sox, who have won 19 of their last 25.
Toronto starter Esmil Rogers (5-8) did not make it out of the third inning, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks and striking out two while getting only seven outs.
RAYS 5, ORIOLES 4, 18 INNINGS
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David DeJesus ended a nearly seven-hour game with a one-out RBI single in the 18th inning, and Tampa Bay took sole possession of the top AL wild-card spot by beating Baltimore.
Tampa Bay started its game at 7:05 p.m. tied with Texas atop a crowded race for two wild cards. By the time it ended 6 hours, 54 minutes later — a record in time for both teams — the Rays were a half-game ahead of Cleveland, which beat Houston 2-1 in a rain-shortened game. The Rangers lost to Kansas City 2-1. Baltimore is 2 1/2 games back.
Desmond Jennings had a one-out double in the 18th off Bud Norris (10-12) — the Orioles' 10th pitcher and one of a big league record 21 used in the game.
TIGERS 12, WHITE SOX 5
DETROIT (AP) — Max Scherzer became baseball's first 20-game winner, pitching through a rainy six innings to help Detroit defeat Chicago.
Scherzer (20-3) was making his fifth attempt to win No. 20. He had two losses and two no-decisions in his previous four starts. Torii Hunter had four hits for Detroit, and Victor Martinez homered.
Dylan Axelrod (4-10) allowed seven runs in 2 2-3 innings.
The AL Central-leading Tigers lowered their magic number to eliminate second-place Cleveland to three.
INDIANS 2, ASTROS 1, 6 1-2 INNINGS
CLEVELAND (AP) — Zach McAllister lasted five innings and the Cleveland Indians got two gift runs from Houston in a 2-1, rain-shortened victory over the Astros to move into the second spot in the AL wild-card standings, a half-game behind Tampa Bay and a half-game ahead of Texas.
The game was delayed for 1 hour, 9 minutes before the umpires decided to call it after 6 1-2 innings.
The Indians scored an unearned run in the second and fourth innings off Brett Oberholtzer (4-4).
McAllister (9-9) allowed just one run and got a key double play in the fifth. Bryan Shaw went 1 1-3 innings for his first save.
ROYALS 2, RANGERS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Neftali Feliz walked Alcides Escobar on four pitches with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning, giving Kansas City a victory over Texas in the opener of an important three-game series between teams in the playoff race.
Texas dropped a half-game behind the Indians for the second AL wild-card spot with the loss. Cleveland beat the Houston Astros 2-1 in rain-shortened game. The Royals were three games behind Tampa Bay. The leading Rays played Baltimore.
The Rangers and Royals scored matching runs in the second inning before two stingy pitching staffs started throwing up zeros.
The Royals finally broke through when Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas hit consecutive two-out singles off the Rangers' Jason Frasor (4-3) in the eighth. Pinch-hitter David Lough drew a walk on a full-count pitch to load the bases, and Rangers manager Ron Washington brought in Feliz.
ANGELS 3, MARINERS 2, 11 INNINGS
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Chris Iannetta drove in Kole Calhoun with a two-out hit in the 11th inning, and Los Angeles rallied past Seattle for its eighth victory in 10 games.
Matt Shoemaker pitched five scoreless innings of two-hit ball in his major league debut for the Angels, who came back from a late two-run deficit and several missed opportunities to win the opener of the final homestand in their disappointing season.
After Calhoun's one-out hit off rookie Bobby LaFromboise (0-1), Iannetta put a long single into deepest left-centre. Calhoun slid home to give Iannetta his fifth career game-ending hit.
Nick Franklin had three hits for the Mariners, who have lost 10 of 12 to fall 20 games below .500.
Cory Rasmus (1-1) pitched the 11th to earn his first major league victory.
ATHLETICS 11, TWINS 0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson homered, Alberto Callaspo had two hits and drove in two runs, and Bartolo Colon pitched six shutout innings as Oakland trimmed its magic number to two by beating Minnesota.
Josh Reddick had two hits and also drove in a run for the A's, who won for the eighth time in 10 games. The A's can clinch their second consecutive AL West title with a win Saturday combined with a Texas Rangers loss.
Colon (17-6) won his third straight start, giving up five hits, walking one and striking out eight, one off his season high.
Andrew Albers (2-4) lost his fourth straight decision after giving up eight runs — three earned — on eight hits over 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Josh Willingham and Eduardo Escobar each had two hits for the Twins, who have lost four of five.
YANKEES 5, GIANTS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez set a major league record with his 24th career grand slam, passing Lou Gehrig with a tiebreaking shot in the seventh inning that sent New York Yankees to victory over San Francisco.
Rodriguez's slam helped CC Sabathia (14-13) beat Tim Lincecum in a matchup of former Cy Young Award-winners having subpar seasons.
More importantly for the Yankees, it led them to their second win in seven games as they cling to faint playoff hopes. New York began the day 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay and Texas for the second AL wild card, with three other teams in between.
Alfonso Soriano also homered and New York opened its final homestand of the season with a much-needed victory, hours after pitcher Andy Pettitte announced his plans to retire — again — following this season.