MINNEAPOLIS - With the White Sox struggling to hold on to their lead in the Central, the last pitcher they wanted to face was Johan Santana.
Santana struck out 13 in eight-plus innings Saturday to lead the Twins to a 5-0 victory over the White Sox, who have lost seven of their last nine games.
Santana has struck out 10 or more in eight starts this season and he leads the major leagues with 220 strikeouts. He allowed four hits and walked two.
"He's always good. Today he was off the charts," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "That's the best I've seen from him, which is saying something."
Santana yielded only a single and a double going into the ninth, when he loaded the bases in the ninth and was relieved by Joe Nathan, who struck out three for his 38th save.
YANKEES 1, JAYS 0: Shawn Chacon gave New York's tired bullpen a rest by pitching eight innings, and visiting New York won its sixth straight.
Bernie Williams drove in the run on a single for the Yankees, who began the day a half-game behind Cleveland in the wild-card race and 11/2 games back of first-place Boston in the East.
Chacon allowed just four hits, while striking out one and walking one. He tied a career high in innings pitched, done five times previously.
Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for his first save in eight chances. Manager Joe Torre didn't want to use closer Mariano Rivera in four straight games.
Jorge Posada led off the second with a double off Gustavo Chacin, advanced to second on Ruben Sierra's single and scored on Williams' single to left.
Chacin allowed one run and eight hits in seven innings. The rookie left-hander has won just one of his last nine starts.
INDIANS 5, ROYALS 4: Cliff Lee won his eighth straight decision and Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer as host Cleveland, baseball's hottest team, pushed within 31/2 games of Chicago in the Central.
The Indians have won 11 of 12, and in going 22-6 since Aug. 18, they've trimmed 111/2 games off a Chicago lead that reached 15 on Aug. 1.
They now have six games remaining against the reeling White Sox, who have dropped seven of nine and will host a three-game series against Cleveland starting Monday.
The Indians improved to 12-3 in September and stayed a half-game up on the Yankees for the wild card.
RANGERS 7, MARINERS 6: Hank Blalock's run-scoring double with one out in the bottom of the ninth lifted host Texas to victory.
Closer Eddie Guardado had his fifth blown save of the season.
Michael Young followed with a single and after Mark Teixeira struck out, Blalock hit a line drive to right-center for a double. Young raced to third and was waved home.
ANGELS 3, TIGERS 1: Garret Anderson capped a three-run eighth inning with a two-run ground rule double and Ervin Santana pitched eight strong innings to help host Los Angeles extend its lead in the West to two games over Oakland.
Santana allowed a run and four hits, including Marcus Thames' third-inning home run, and tied a career high with seven strikeouts.