The two teams ahead of the Twins for the second AL wild-card spot flipped positions Tuesday night.
The Los Angeles Angels beat Oakland 8-1, while the Houston Astros lost 6-4 at Seattle. Those results pushed the Angels (83-74) a half-game ahead of the Astros (83-75). Meanwhile, the Twins (81-75), who were rained out Tuesday at Cleveland, are 1½ games behind L.A. and one behind Houston.
Tuesday's details: In Anaheim, Calif., Albert Pujols had an RBI double among his three hits, Erick Aybar drove in three runs and the kept the AL playoff race tight with their seventh consecutive victory.
In Seattle, Shawn O'Malley's two-run single in the bottom of the eight broke a 4-all tie and sent the Mariners past the Astros. Former Twin Pat Neshek entered the game with one out and one runner on base in the eighth before giving up a single, walking a batter and allowing O'Malley's bases-loaded hit.
Wednesday's action: The Angels send righthander Garrett Richards (15-11) against A's left Barry Zito and his 18.00 ERA. Game time is 6:05 p.m. … Houston plays Seattle at 9:10 p.m., and the Astros will start lefty Scott Kazmir (7-11) against a Mariners pitcher to be announced.