Sept 17 (Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's Major League Baseball games:
- - - -
Cardinals 11, Rockies 4
The St Louis Cardinals pounded Colorado starter Juan Nicasio and cruised to a win over the Rockies.
The victory enabled the Cardinals to take over first place in the National League Central by one game. They had been tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who lost to the San Diego Padres.
Matt Holliday went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer, drove in three runs and scored twice for the Cardinals, who piled up 18 hits. Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina and Daniel Descalso each had two RBI.
Reds 10, Astros 0
Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake tossed eight shutout innings and the Reds provided plenty of early run support to bash the Houston Astros.
The Reds (86-66) closed within 1 1/2 games of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central by sending the Astros (51-100) to their third consecutive 100-loss season.
Cincinnati scored four runs in the first, one more in the third, then blew the game open on Jay Bruce's fourth-inning grand slam.
Padres 5, Pirates 2
Rookie Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer and had three hits to help the San Diego Padres beat the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight night and keep them from taking a step forward in their National League Central race.
Ronny Cedeno also had three hits for the Padres, who won for the 10th time in 14 games, and Will Venable and Tommy Medica added two hits each. San Diego had a total of 14 hits.
The Pirates fell a game behind St. Louis atop the standings and are now just 1 1/2 games in front of Cincinnati for the top National League wild card spot.
Rangers 7, Rays 1
The Texas Rangers pulled into a tie for the top American League wild card spot with Tampa Bay, hammering the Rays to end a seven-game losing streak.
Both teams are 82-68 with two games left in the series.
Texas starter Alexi Ogando (7-4) allowed a run on two hits in five innings while Ian Kinsler (2-for-5) and Elvis Andrus (2-for-3) each homered and drove in three runs.
Leonys Martin homered and doubled twice, scoring three times from the ninth spot in the batting order.
Indians 5, Royals 3
Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a go-ahead, run-producing double in the eighth and Michael Bourn homered in the ninth as the Cleveland Indians rallied from a three-run deficit to top the Kansas City Royals.
The victory kept the Indians a half-game behind wild-card leaders Texas and Tampa Bay, while the Royals fell 3 1/2 games back.
Kansas City led 3-0 before Cleveland started their comeback with a run in the sixth.
Orioles 3, Red Sox 2
Chris Davis tied the score with his club-record 51st home run in the sixth inning and the Orioles struck for a run against dominant closer Koji Uehara in the ninth to keep their playoff hopes intact.
Uehara (4-1) had retired 37 straight batters when he entered to start the ninth inning but gave up a triple and ultimately the winning run.
Baltimore is now two games behind in the American League wild card chase.
Blue Jays 2, Yankees 0
Colby Rasmus and Rajai Davis homered, and R.A. Dickey pitched seven scoreless inning as the Blue Jays blanked the New York Yankees.
The Yankees (79-72) lost their fourth game in a row, damaging their hopes of earning an American League wild-card playoff spot. New York trails the second wild-card position by 3 1/2 games.
Nationals 6, Braves 5 (Game 1)
The Washington Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Atlanta Braves and almost invincible closer Craig Kimbrel and keep their thin playoff hopes alive in the first game of a day-night doubleheader
With runners on second and third and one out, Denard Span hit a grounder up the middle to score pinch-runner Jeff Kobernus with the tying run.
Anthony Rendon came in to score the winning run when the ball got past Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons for an error.
The loss ended a streak of 37 straight saves converted by Kimbrel (3-3).
Nationals 4, Braves 0 (Game 2)
Rookie right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings and the Washington Nationals added three runs in the eighth to break open a pitcher's duel and beat the Atlanta Braves to sweep a split doubleheader and keep their playoff hopes alive.
In that second game, Steve Lombardozzi had an RBI single in the second and Ryan Zimmerman crushed a solo homer, his 25th of the year, in the eighth.
Washington is now 4 1/2 games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild card spot in the National League.
Phillies 6, Marlins 4
Roy Halladay won for the first time in three weeks and Chase Utley hit a three-run homer for the second straight night, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins.
Halladay (4-4), who underwent shoulder surgery May 15 and missed over three months, had recorded his last victory on Aug. 25, over Arizona.
He pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits.
Tigers 6, Mariners 2
Miguel Cabrera blasted his first home run since Aug. 26, ending a 15-game drought, and Austin Jackson drove in two runs to lift the Detroit Tigers to a victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez had 10 strikeouts and the Tigers stayed six games ahead in the American League Central.
White Sox 4, Twins 3
Jose Quintana pitched six effective innings for his first win in a month, leading the Chicago White Sox to a victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Quintana, who entered the night with a major-league-leading and American League-record 17 no-decisions, allowed one run and eight hits while striking out five for his first win since beating the Twins on Aug. 16.
Brewers 4, Cubs 3
Logan Schafer's bases-loaded sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning drove in the winning run and gave the Milwaukee Brewers a victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Facing Cubs right-hander Justin Grimm (0-2), Schafer, pinch-hitting for Sean Halton, worked the count to 1-1 before putting down the bunt that scored Jeff Bianchi with the winning run.
Giants 8, Mets 5
Angel Pagan went 3-for-3 with two walks, a triple and a go-ahead home run, and the San Francisco Giants staved off a late New York Mets rally for a win.
Pagan broke the Mets bullpen's streak of 18 scoreless innings and a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning when he homered into the left field seats against Sean Henn. San Francisco's bullpen got out of a jam in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out but escaped.
Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3
Matt Kemp had four hits and three RBIs in his first start in eight weeks, and Juan Uribe and Adrian Gonzalez homered as the Los Angeles Dodgers closed in on the National League West title with a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kemp had two doubles and two singles before leaving for a pinch runner in the seventh inning. He doubled home the first two runs of a four-run first inning and singled in a run in the fourth for an 8-0 lead.
The Dodgers (87-64), who were in last place and 9 1/2 games behind the D-backs on June 23, dropped their magic number to clinch the division title to two. They would win the NL West with a victory in either of the final two games of the series.
A's 2, Angels 1
Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Oakland A's to a win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The walk-off hit was Donaldson's third of his career, all coming this season.
The Athletics' magic number to win the American League West dropped to six, and their magic number for a playoff berth fell to five.
Oakland remains 6 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Texas Rangers, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays. (Editing by Jahmal Corner/John O'Brien)