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Pirates defeat the Cardinals to boost their playoff hopes

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh pinch-hitter Ike Davis launched a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the eighth inning that lifted the Pirates to a vital 5-2 win over St. Louis on Wednesday and boosted their fragile playoff hopes.

The win kept the Pirates within 1-1/2 games of the last wild-card berth and moved them within five games of the National League Central lead.

In the American League, the Los Angeles Angels reclaimed sole ownership of the lead by beating Miami, while Baltimore's victory over Tampa Bay stretched their AL East lead to seven games over the New York Yankees, who were beaten by Detroit.

Pittsburgh's reigning league MVP Andrew McCutchen left the game in the fifth inning because of discomfort in his left ribs. Having only recently come back from a rib problem, the center fielder ran into the wall earlier in the game.

Davis sent a pitch from Seth Maness (5-3) deep over the fence in right-center field to lift the Pirates to victory.

The Angels moved a game above closest rival Oakland by beating Miami 8-2.

Mike Trout had an RBI double among his three hits and Albert Pujols added a two-run single during Los Angeles' five-run fourth inning.

Angels' starter Matt Shoemaker (13-4) pitched seven scoreless innings.

Baltimore's Jonathan Schoop singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and Caleb Joseph had two RBIs as the Orioles tightened their already firm grip on the AL East title.

Nelson Cruz had two hits and drove in a run for the AL East-leading Orioles.

Baltimore relievers gave up only one hit over the final 4 1-3 innings, with the Rays stranding nine runners on base and having two thrown out at home plate.

The Yankees' faint chances of catching the Orioles received a further setback with a 5-2 loss at Detroit.

Tigers' starter Rick Porcello (15-8) pitched eight impressive innings to set a career high for victories in a season. Having thrown a shutout in his previous start, Porcello did not allow a run until the fifth.

Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for Detroit, which stayed within 1-1/2 games of AL Central leader Kansas City and half a game of Seattle in the tussle over the final wild-card berth.

Philadelphia edged Washington 3-2, with Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf hitting homers and Carlos Ruiz bringing in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

Phillies reliever Ken Giles (3-1) struck out the side in a scoreless eighth to help the Phillies to their fifth win in six games and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 33rd save in 35 chances.

The Nationals lost consecutive games for the first time in over three weeks.

Milwaukee failed to capitalize on St. Louis loss, with a 4-1 loss at San Diego maintaining the Brewers' 1-1/2 game lead in the NL Central.

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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez #13 slides home safely in front of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero #26 in the seventh inning during a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 26. (AP)

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