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Big League Stew

The Juice: Pirates will enter September in first place after upending Cardinals

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Saturday was a banner day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It started with general manager Neal Huntington bringing in some reinforcements by acquiring first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins. And then it ended with Pittsburgh all alone in first place in the National League Central after knocking off the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-1.

Perhaps inspired by another Canadian (Morneau) joining the team, Russell Martin muscled up for the game’s biggest hit, a three-run homer in the third. He then spoke about the addition following the game.

From the Associated Press:

''Everybody knows we got better with the addition of Justin,'' Martin said after the game. ''He's an ex-MVP. He knows what he's doing out there. He's going to give you a productive at-bat and he lengthens the middle of the order.''

One person who will appreciate that is A.J. Burnett, but it really didn't matter who was behind him on Friday. He was in full control, cruising through seven innings of four-hit ball to pick up his seventh win.

Ivan the Great: Following another uneven outing from C.C. Sabathia on Friday night, the New York Yankees were hoping for a quality performance from Ivan Nova in their quick turnaround game on Saturday afternoon. He gave them quality, and then some, throwing his first career complete game shutout in their 2-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Nova gave up just three singles in the outing and one walk. He also hit two batters and struck out five while lowering his season ERA to 2.88. Needless to say, he's quietly having a terrific season, but his August has been especially good (4-0, 2.07). Oh, and speaking of guys having terrific seasons, Robinson Cano was the Yankees lone source for offense with a solo home run and RBI double.

MORE SCORES

Blue Jays 4, Royals 2: Toronto rallied for three runs in the eighth on an error and two bases loaded walks.

Cubs 4, Phillies 3: Starlin Castro hit the go-ahead home run in the sixh inning.

Mets 11, Nationals 3: Four Mets had three hits apiece — Eric Young, Daniel Murphy, Josh Satin and Juan Lagares.

Tigers 10, Indians 5: Jim Leyland finally gave Miguel Cabrera a day off, but Omar Infante filled the void nicely hitting a pair of home runs and driving in five.

Red Sox 7, White Sox 2: Jake Peavy overpowered his former teammates to earn his 11th victory.

Angels 6, Brewers 5: Hank Conger hit a two-out, pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth to give the Angels the win.

Braves 5, Marlins 4 (11 inn.): Atlanta is hot again, winning their fifth in a row. B.J. Upton secured the win with his fourth hit — an RBI single.

Mariners 3, Astros 1: Seattle plated three in the first and held on for their third straight victory.

Rangers 2, Twins 1: Texas walks off in the ninth on Leonys Martin's bases loaded single.

Reds 8, Rockies 3: Brandon Phillips finished a single shy of the cycle — he had two chances — and scored three times.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3: Our third walk-off hit of the night belongs to Eric Chavez.

A's 2, Rays 1: The A's expand their Wild Card lead to 1 1/2 games over Tampa Bay. Coco Crisp knocked in both of their runs with a home run and single.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: Los Angeles scored single runs in the seventh and eighth to rally past San Diego. They also acquired Michael Young from Philadelphia.

''I certainly knew that team in and out. I did know pretty much for the most part what they were going to do. I think that worked pretty much to my advantage.''

— Jake Peavy pretty much describes his outing against the White Sox.

View photo

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(USA Today)

Two of Spongebob Squarepants' best friends — Patrick Star and Tommy Lasorda.

• The Rays will call up Delmon Young when rosters expands on Sunday.

• The Pirates will enter September in first place for the first tine since 1992.

• Baltimore is on pace for 48 errors this season, which would shatter the record for fewest team errors in a 162-game season. The Seattle Mariners hold the current mark with 65 in 2003.

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