Adam Dunn smashed two home runs to give the Chicago White Sox a 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday, preserving their one-game lead in the American League Central.
With the White Sox trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning, Dunn blasted a solo homer to pull the home team within one then delivered a three-run shot in the eighth to put Chicago in front for good.
"I hadn't been seeing the ball real good," Dunn told reporters of his recent play. "Everybody wants to get into the postseason but it's just fun. It's fun when every single game matters."
The victory kept the White Sox (82-71) one game in front of Detroit (81-72), who beat Kansas City 6-2 with reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander carrying the Tigers with eight strikeouts in eight innings to improve to 16-8.
Both teams have nine games remaining.
After Dunn's timely power surge, which gave him 41 home runs on the season, Chicago surrendered a run to the Indians in the ninth and let the tying run reach second base before reliever Donnie Veal got the final out.
In Minnesota, Curtis Granderson hit his 40th homer of the season to help the New York Yankees beat the Twins 6-3 and end the day 1 1/2 games clear of Baltimore at the top of the AL East.
The Orioles (88-66) split a doubleheader with Toronto, winning 4-1 in the opener and losing 9-5 in the second game.
Texas infielder Adrian Beltre hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Rangers over the visiting Oakland Athletics.
The win gave Texas (91-62) a five-game lead in the AL West over the Athletics (86-67), who had their hold on the second AL wild card spot trimmed to two games.
Josh Hamilton returned from a five-game absence because of a sinus infection and hit his Major League-leading 43rd home run of the season. His blast nudged him one ahead of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who is trying to win baseball's triple crown.
In the National League, the St Louis Cardinals topped Houston 6-1 and now have a 3 1/2 game advantage in the second NL wild card spot.
Milwaukee started the day trailing St. Louis by 2 1/2 games but fell back after losing to playoff-bound Washington 12-2.
"This is just a little bump in the road, it's not a big deal," said Milwaukee pitcher Marco Estrada. "I still feel like we're going to get this done. (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)