MLB roundup: Cards take first game of pivotal series vs. Pirates

MLB roundup: Cards take first game of pivotal series vs. Pirates

Mark Reynolds hit a two-run home run to cap a three-run ninth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a scoreless tie and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 on Monday night to get closer to their third straight National League Central title.

The Cardinals increased their division lead to four games over the Pirates. Both teams have five games remaining and St. Louis can wrap up the title with a win Tuesday night in the second game of a three-game series.

Pirates closer Mark Melancon (3-2), who leads the major leagues with a franchise-record 51 saves, started the ninth and gave up a one-out single to third Matt Carpenter. Center fielder Jon Jay followed with a single to right and Carpenter continued home when right fielder Gregory Polanco bobbled the ball for an error.

Reynolds, the first baseman, followed with his 13th homer of the season, a drive into the right-field stands.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2 (12 innings)

SAN FRANCISCO — Pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza’s sacrifice fly scored Marlon Byrd from third base in the bottom of the 12th inning night as San Francisco kept its slim playoff hopes alive by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Right-hander Jake Peavy pitched seven strong innings and Trevor Brown had a two-run double as the Giants kept the Dodgers from clinching the National League West, trimming their lead to five games with six remaining.

Cubs 1, Royals 0 (11 innings)

CHICAGO — Chris Denorfia led off the 11th inning with a first-pitch home run as the Chicago Cubs claimed a walk-off victory over Kansas City.

Denorfia’s lead-off home run off right-handed reliever Miguel Almonte gave the Cubs their major league-leading 13th walk-off win of the season.

Almonte took the loss after entering in the 11th. Chicago right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney worked the top of the 11th for the win.

Twins 4, Indians 2

CLEVELAND — Trevor Plouffe’s two-run home run capped a three-run first inning as Minnesota beat Cleveland at Progressive Field.

The win keeps the Twins squarely in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the American League.

Left-hander Tommy Milone pitched into the sixth inning to get the win. He gave up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Right-hander Kevin Jepsen pitched the ninth to pick up his 14th save.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3

BALTIMORE — Justin Smoak drove in the tie-breaking run on a fielder’s choice in the ninth as Toronto scored three runs in the final two innings and moved one step closer to the American League East title with a victory over Baltimore.

The Blue Jays are winners of five straight games and reduced their magic number to three.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 1

NEW YORK — Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley hit two-run home runs in consecutive innings off right-hander Ivan Nova as Boston prevented the New York Yankees from inching closer to clinching a postseason berth.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez allowed one run and seven hits over six innings during his final start of the season. He became the first Boston rookie southpaw to win 10 games since John Curtis in 1972 and finished his rookie season at 121 2/3 innings.

Tigers 7, Rangers 4

ARLINGTON, Texas — For the third consecutive day, Texas missed an opportunity to directly reduce its magic number to clinch the American League West. The latest setback came at the hands of lowly Detroit.

Starter Justin Verlander worked six solid innings and Tyler Collins added a three-run homer for the Tigers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 73-83.

Texas starter Colby Lewis, seeking his 18th win, was shelled and couldn’t get out of the fifth. Lewis lost for the first time in four outings.

Astros 3, Mariners 2

SEATTLE — George Springer, Evan Gattis and Chris Cater all hit home runs to lift Houston to win against Seattle.

The Astros are now just 1 1/2 back of the division lead thanks to the Rangers’ loss to the Tigers.

Carter’s home run in the seventh inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Astros the lead for good. He sent the first pitch he saw from Danny Farquhar (1-6) deep down the left field line for his 23rd homer of the year.

Angels 5, Athletics 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. — David Murphy’s pinch-hit line-drive single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a win over Oakland at Angel Stadium.

C.J. Cron, who had three hits in the game, got the rally started in the ninth with a single to center off A’s reliever Edward Mujica. Third baseman David Freese followed with a dribbler up the third-base line. Mujica fielded the ball cleanly but his throw hit Freese in the back for an error, pinch runner Collin Cowgill going to third and Freese taking second on the play.

After an intentional walk to left fielder Shane Victorino, A’s manager Bob Melvin brought in lefty Fernando Abad to face Murphy.

Nationals 5, Reds 1

WASHINGTON — Right-hander Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the eighth inning as Washington ended the home portion of its season with a win over Cincinnati.

Scherzer did not allow a hit until Tucker Barnhart lined a clean single to left with one in the eighth. Later in the inning, Skip Schumaker had an RBI single to break up the shutout bid.

Scherzer, who struck out 10 batters and gave up two hits with three walks in eight innings and also had two hits at the plate, came within one out of a perfect game at home on June 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a no-hitter.