Pacesetters Corinthians came unstuck at Fluminense, who move up to fifth as a result of Fred's 22nd-minute decider.
However, Sao Paulo could not capitalise, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Gremio, with Dos Santos Douglas netting the only goal in the 64th minute.
The result means Vasco da Gama move above Sao Paulo into second - but they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Figueirense.
Silva Wellington gave the home side a fourth-minute lead and although Vasco da Gama were level 12 minutes later courtesy of Conserva Fagner, they could not find a winner which would have taken them to the top of the table.
However, the night's big shock saw fourth-placed Botafogo crash to a 5-0 loss at Coritiba.
Emerson broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute and the floodgates opened in the second half with Marcos Aurelio (penalty), Rosimar Bill, Rafinha and Everton Costa all finding the target.
Flamengo slip to sixth after a 2-1 home defeat to Atletico Paranaense, who played a quarter of the game with 10 men.
Aguiar Heracles and Joffre Guerron gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, before Guerron saw red - but all Flamengo could manage was Welinton Souza's 81st-minute goal.
Internacional are up to seventh after a 3-0 win at Palmeiras - with Leandro Damiao's hat-trick enabling them to move above their opponents.
Felipe's 87th-minute goal gave Atletico Goianiense a 1-1 draw at Ceara, who had led through Egidio's 37th-minute goal, while two goals from Magno Alves - one a penalty - enabled Atletico Mineiro to move above fellow strugglers Bahia with a 2-0 home win. The visitors had Paulo Miranda dismissed.