A look at Saturday's standings brings back memories of 1993, when Toronto beat the Chicago White Sox in the playoffs en route to the Blue Jays' second straight World Series title.
''I know it's early, but any time you can be in first place, it's always fun,'' Frank Castillo said after leading the Blue Jays to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
Toronto, which moved a half-game ahead of Boston and a game ahead of the New York Yankees, overcame a two-run deficit to extend its winning streak to three. The Blue Jays have not led this late in a season since '93.
At Comiskey Park, Carlos Lee hit a game-tying homer against Mariano Rivera (2-2) leading off the ninth and Jose Valentin singled home the winning run for the White Sox later in the inning.
Chicago, which outscored New York 42-17 in sweeping a four-game series last week at Yankee Stadium, has won 17 of 21 overall, taking an 8 1/2-game lead over second-place Cleveland.
''When you play one of the best teams in baseball, it makes you play with more confidence,'' Valentin said. ''We're happy right now. We've been playing good baseball, but we can't get crazy.''
In other AL games, it was Detroit 7, Cleveland 6; Oakland 10, Kansas City 6; Tampa Bay 7, Texas 4; Anaheim 8, Minnesota 3; and Seattle 8, Baltimore 3.
At SkyDome, Raul Mondesi hit a go-ahead, two-run homer for the Blue Jays, and Brad Fullmer and Jose Cruz Jr. also connected as Toronto overcame a 2-0 deficit.
Castillo (4-5) allowed four runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings for the win. John Wasdin (0-3), making his first start since 1998, gave up five runs and seven hits in four innings.
White Sox 4, Yankees 3
After New York left the bases loaded against Sean Lowe (2-1) in the top of the ninth, Lee hit Rivera's first pitch of the bottom half for his 14th homer -- only the second off Rivera in 31 1-3 innings this year. Rivera blew a save for the third time in 19 chances.
Tigers 7, Indians 6
Juan Gonzalez, still with Detroit, had two hits and scored twice as Detroit dropped Cleveland to 15-16 at Jacobs Field.
Willie Blair (4-1) allowed five hits in 6 2-3 innings, and Todd Jones allowed the tying run to reach second with one out in the ninth before striking out Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar for his league-leading 20th save.
Tony Clark hit a two-run homer off Jamie Navarro (0-1), and Juan Encarnacion had three hits and two RBIs for the Tigers.
Athletics 10, Royals 6
Randy Velarde, Jason Giambi and Ben Grieve hit consecutive homers in the second off Chad Durbin (1-3) as Oakland won its ninth straight, its longest winning streak since a 10-game run in September 1992.
Kevin Appier (8-3), who spent the first decade of his major league career with the Royals before being traded to the A's last July, allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings at Oakland.
Devil Rays 7, Rangers 4
Gerald Williams homered leading off the game and hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh at Arlington, sending Rick Helling (7-7) to his sixth straight loss.
Cory Lidle (1-2) pitched six innings to win for the first time as a major league starter. Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Angels 8, Twins 3
Troy Glaus hit two home runs estimated at a combined 878 feet, and Anaheim also got solo homers from Tim Salmon and Bengie Molina as it rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
Rookie Seth Etherton (3-1) won his third straight start, allowing three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Jason Ryan (0-1), making his season debut, gave up five runs -- three earned -- and five hits in three innings for visiting Minnesota.
Mariners 8, Orioles 3
David Bell hit a two-run homer and Alex Rodriguez had a two-run double in a four-run fifth, sending visiting Baltimore to its seventh straight loss. Seattle has won four straight.
Gil Meche (4-4) won his fourth consecutive decision, including three since coming off the disabled list June 13 because of arm problems.
Scott Erickson (4-4) lost for the fourth time in five decisions.
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