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Angels beat A's 4-3 in opener of key series

BALTIMORE -- The Los Angeles Angels beat Oakland 4-3 in 10 innings in Thursday's opening game of a vital four-game series between the top two teams in the American League, with Howie Kendrick's sacrifice fly deciding a game that ended in controversy.

The victory moved the Angels two games clear of their AL West division rival, and with a chance to build that over the remainder of the key home series.

In other important AL games, Detroit beat the New York Yankees to close the gap on Central Division leader Kansas City, while the Yankees slipped further behind East Division leader Baltimore, which defeated Tampa Bay.

Angels' slugger Albert Pujols drew a leadoff walk in the 10th inning from A's pitcher Ryan Cook (1-2), and Josh Hamilton moved him to third base with a bouncing hit up the middle.

Kendrick's long fly to right field provided enough time for even the slow-footed Pujols to make it to home plate, setting off a playoff-worthy celebration by the Angels.

Oakland ended the game under protest at a ninth-inning obstruction call.

Baltimore extended its lead in the East to a near-impregnable seven games by edging Tampa Bay 5-4.

With the score 4-4 in the seventh, Nelson Cruz doubled with two outs, and after an intentional walk, J.J. Hardy got a hit that floated over the infield, bringing home Cruz and giving the Orioles the lead for the first time.

Steve Pearce earlier homered for the Orioles while Andrew Miller (4-5) pitched 1-2/3 hitless innings for the win.

Detroit's Alex Avila hit a game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Tigers a 3-2 win against the Yankees.

Victor Martinez led off the ninth with a double through a shifted infield, and then New York pitcher Shawn Kelley issued one walk followed by two strikeouts. Avila followed with a drive to the wall in right field.

Detroit gave pitcher Kyle Lobstein his first major league start and he did well, allowing only one earned run in six innings as the Tigers moved within 1-1/2 games of the Central lead and moved level with Seattle for the provisional second wild card place.

Kansas City saw its lead slice after being beaten 11-5 at home by Minnesota in 10 innings.

Jordan Schafer tied a career high with four RBIs for the Twins, including a two-run single in the 10th.

Eduardo Nunez singled home the go-ahead run and Brian Dozier added a two-run double. Kurt Suzuki capped the burst with an RBI double for his third hit of the game.

Atlanta's Mike Minor shone on the mound and at the plate as the Braves beat the New York Mets 6-1.

Minor did not allow a runner on base over the first four innings and held the Mets scoreless until the eighth.

With the bat, he Minor hit a single in the second for the game's opening run, then followed with a double and a run in the eighth.

Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco pitched into the seventh inning to guide the Indians to a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

San Francisco's Yusmeiro Petit set a major league record by retiring his 46th batter in a row — over eight games — and steered the Giants to a 4-1 win over Colorado.

Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton stole his 51st base of the season among the Reds six steals in a 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Houston's Jason Castro hit a grand slam to provide all the runs in the Astros' 4-2 win over state rival Texas.

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Los Angeles Angels' Josh Hamilton, left, tries to rip the jersey off of Howie Kendrick after Kendrick hit a sacrifice fly to win in the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, in Anaheim, California, Thursday, Aug. 28. Albert Pujols scored the winning run. (AP)

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