* Orioles punish Mariners with early barrage
The Baltimore Orioles kept the pressure on the leading New York Yankees in the American League East by thrashing the Seattle Mariners 10-4 on Monday.
The Orioles unleashed a seven-run barrage in the first two innings to crush the Mariners and pull within half of a game of the Yankees who had the night off.
Matt Wieters finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Nate McLouth added three hits for the Orioles (83-64), who are pursuing their first postseason since 1997.
Baltimore hold the AL's second Wild Card spot by three games over the Los Angeles Angels this season which marks the first year both leagues take two Wild Card teams and match them up in a one-game playoff.
In Chicago, the White Sox scored a pair of runs thanks to some hard-edged baserunning by Alex Rios to beat the visiting Detroit Tigers 5-4 and increase their American League Central lead to three games.
The win improved the White Sox to 80-66 and dropped the second-placed Tigers to 77-69 with 16 games left in the 2012 Major League Baseball season.
Playing a make-up date for a game rained out last week, the Tigers led 4-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
Chicago loaded the bases on a single by Adam Dunn, a double by Paul Konerko and a walk to Rios, and after a lineout by A.J. Pierzynski, Dayan Viciedo hit a one-out grounder to short that looked destined to become an inning-ending double play.
Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta fielded it and flipped to Omar Infante covering second, but the speedy Rios got a great break off first and slid hard into Infante, who bounced his throw past first baseman Prince Fielder allowing two runs to score that put Chicago ahead.
"How many times do you see a guy slide or pull up and this or that?" Dunn told reporters. "Alex went in hard and essentially won us a game."
In the National League, San Francisco edged Colorado 2-1 to grab a commanding eight-game lead in the NL West.
Hunter Pence singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and Madison Bumgarner used strong support from his bullpen to get his 15th win of the season.
With the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers taking the day off, the Giants (84-63) stretched their lead to close in on their second division title in three seasons.
In Miami, the Atlanta Braves held off the home Marlins 7-5 and moved 7.5 games clear in the NL Wild Card race.
Dan Uggla hit a three-run home run as Atlanta took an early 6-0 lead then held on to get starter Tim Hudson (15-6) the victory.
The Braves (85-63) have won four straight and have not given up on catching first-place Washington (89-57) in the NL East.
"We're playing good baseball," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Our eyes are still trying to catch the Nationals, but we're playing good baseball. You're starting to see some sparks here and there."
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