Baseball Capsules

CHICAGO (AP) Gerrit Cole outpitched Jon Lester as the Pittsburgh Pirates hung on for their seventh straight win, beating Chicago 3-2 to delay the Cubs’ playoff celebration until later Friday.

Pittsburgh increased its lead for the NL’s top wild card to 4 1/2 games over the Cubs, who would have secured their first postseason appearance since 2008 with a victory. Chicago clinched later Friday when San Francisco lost to Oakland.

Cole (18-8) and Lester (10-12) each lasted seven innings, and Mark Melancon held off a rally attempt in the ninth for his major league-leading 51st save in 53 chances.


HOUSTON (AP) – Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in three runs as Texas beat Houston for the eighth straight time, extending its AL West lead over the Astros to 4 1/2 games.

Houston star second baseman Jose Altuve exited early after being hurt in a collision with shortstop Carlos Correa while chasing a popup. Manager A.J. Hinch said Altuve didn’t have a concussion and hoped to play on Saturday.

The Rangers improved to 16-7 this month while Houston lost its third in a row and fell to 7-15 in September. The Astros’ lead for the second AL wild-card spot was whittled to a half-game over the Los Angeles Angels, who played later.

Ross Ohlendorf (3-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.

Scott Kazmir (7-11) yielded 10 hits and six runs, lasting just 3 2-3 innings for the second straight game. He hasn’t won since Aug. 22, a span of six straight starts.


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron hit two-run homers, and Los Angeles surged within a half-game of playoff position with a victory over Seattle.

Mike Trout went 3 for 5 with an RBI double as the Angels (79-74) won their third straight and nearly closed the gap on the Houston Astros (80-74), who lost to Texas, for the second AL wild card spot.

Los Angeles also moved past the Minnesota Twins (78-75), who lost at Detroit.

Johnny Giavotella tripled and drove in two runs in his return from a 31-game injury absence for the late-charging Angels. They dropped to the fringe of the pennant race while going 10-19 in August, but they’re 14-8 in September, including six wins in eight games.


ST. LOUIS (AP) – Khris Davis homered off Trevor Rosenthal leading off the ninth inning and Milwaukee beat St. Louis.

The loss cut the Cardinals’ NL Central lead to three games over Pittsburgh with eight games remaining.

Rosenthal (2-3) was St. Louis’ eighth reliever after Carlos Martinez lasted just seven pitches before leaving with tightness in his pitching shoulder.

Davis’ 24th homer was just the second allowed by the St. Louis closer; the other was by Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang on May 3 in St. Louis. Davis was 1 for 5 with four strikeouts against Rosenthal before lining a 1-1 fastball into the right-field bullpen.

Will Smith (7-2) got the Brewers out of danger in the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez earned his 36th save in 38 chances.

Milwaukee has lost 12 of 17 against the Cardinals this season and 53 of the last 77 meetings.


DENVER (AP) – Corey Dickerson hit one of Colorado’s three solo homers in the fourth inning and the Rockies beat prevented Los Angeles from moving a step closer to clinching its third straight NL West title.

The magic number for Los Angeles remained at three.

Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and Dickerson hit homers off Mike Bolsinger (6-5). Dickerson finished a triple shy of the cycle, striking out in his final at-bat. He drove in three runs.

David Hale (5-5) allowed five hits and one run over five innings in his first start since Aug. 23. He stepped in for Yohan Flande, who’s sidelined with a bruised knee.

John Axford pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save as Colorado snapped a five-game skid.


TORONTO (AP) – R.A. Dickey pitched seven innings to earn his 100th career win, Josh Donaldson hit his 40th home run and Toronto Moved closer to clinching its first playoff berth in 22 years.

Toronto leads the AL East and hasn’t been to the postseason since winning its second straight World Series in 1993.

Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar also went deep for Toronto, which leads the majors with 217 homers, the fourth highest total in team history. The Blue Jays hit 257 homers in 2010.

Dickey (11-11) settled down after a shaky first. He retired 18 of the final 19 batters he faced, including the last 11 straight.

Jake Odorizzi (8-9) allowed four runs in five innings.


NEW YORK (AP) – CC Sabathia gave up two costly homers in the seventh inning and prized rookie Carlos Rodon pitched out of trouble all night as Chicago damaged New York’s playoff drive.

Mike Olt hit a tiebreaking shot off Sabathia that soared into the second deck in left field. One out later, No. 9 batter Gordon Beckham homered off Sabathia (5-10).

The Yankees fell four games behind first-place Toronto in the AL East after the Blue Jays beat Tampa Bay. New York still has a firm hold on the league’s top wild-card spot.

New York grounded into four double plays, which helped Rodon (9-6) overcome five walks and two hit batters in winning his third consecutive start.

Ex-Yankees closer David Robertson got his 32nd save in 39 chances. It was his first outing against New York since signing a $46 million, four-year contract with the White Sox in December.

Chicago stopped its nine-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium dating to 2012.


CINCINNATI (AP) – Lucas Duda hit a pair of three-run homers, and Noah Syndergaard dominated with his 99 mph fastball while pitching into the eighth inning, leading New York over Cincinnati and to the verge of its first playoff spot since 2006.

The Mets’ magic number for clinching the NL East was reduced to one with Washington’s 8-2 loss to Philadelphia.

Duda was the catalyst as New York stretched its road winning streak to nine games, matching the club record from 2006. He had a pair of RBI doubles on Thursday night in a 6-4 win, and hit three-run homers off Anthony DeSclafani (9-12) and Tony Cingrani on Friday. His six RBIs were a career high.

Syndergaard (9-7) struck out 11 over 7 2-3 innings, the fourth time he’s reached double-digits in strikeouts.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – World Series champion San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention, falling to Sonny Gray and Oakland.

The Giants’ third straight loss put the Chicago Cubs into the postseason for the first time since 2008.

San Francisco, which won the World Series in three of the past five seasons, fell to 79-74 this year. Far behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, the Giants were chased from a possible wild-card spot.

Billy Burns hit a two-run homer and Billy Butler added a solo shot as the A’s snapped a five-game losing streak.

Gray (14-7) struck out seven in six innings to bounce back from two rough starts in which he had no-decisions.

Matt Duffy and Jarrett Parker homered for the Giants. Mike Leake (10-10), acquired earlier this season to help for the stretch run, took the loss.


DETROIT (AP) – Rajai Davis hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Detroit past playoff-chasing Minnesota.

It was the type of loss the Twins may look back on if they don’t make the postseason. They entered the day trailing Houston by 1 1/2 games for the second wild card in the American League, and they led 4-1 in the seventh against the sub-.500 Tigers before the bullpen gave away the lead.

Victor Martinez tied it with a two-run double off Glen Perkins in the seventh, and Perkins (2-5) also allowed Davis’ opposite-field homer to right an inning later.

Alex Wilson (3-3) got the win in relief, and Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his third save.

The Tigers outhit Minnesota 13-2.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Carlos Carrasco pitched a one-hitter, allowing only a seventh-inning single, and struck out a career-high 15 to lead Cleveland over Kansas City.

The AL Central champion Royals didn’t come close to a hit until Alex Rios lined a single to center with one out in the seventh.

Carrasco (14-11) was trying to pitch Cleveland’s first no-hitter since 1981, when Len Barker threw a perfect game.

On July 1, Carrasco was within one strike of a no-hitter against Tampa Bay when Joey Butler singled on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth.

This was the sixth time this season the Indians took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning.

Jose Ramirez, Abraham Almonte and Roberto Perez homered for the Indians.

Edinson Volquez (13-9) took the loss.


WASHINGTON (AP) – Rookie Aaron Altherr had four hits, including an inside-the-park grand slam and a solo homer, and Philadelphia beat Washington in what was likely Jordan Zimmermann’s home farewell.

The Nationals lost their fourth straight and trail the Mets by 8 1/2 games in the NL East. New York cut its magic number to one Friday, beating Cincinnati 12-5.

Zimmermann (13-9), who will be a free agent this offseason, exited after allowing six earned runs on six hits over five innings and suffered his first loss since Aug. 12.

Philadelphia rookie Jerad Eickhoff (2-3) won for the first time since his Aug. 21 debut, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out 10.

Altherr drove in five and capped his first four-hit game with a double in the seventh and a ninth-inning single. He legged out his grand slam when center fielder Michael Taylor whiffed diving for a sinking liner in the third.


MIAMI (AP) – Jose Fernandez became the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions, overcoming a rough start Friday to help the Miami beat Atlanta.

Fernandez gave up a homer to Nick Markakis to start the game and allowed four runs in a 35-pitch first inning. He tied a career high by allowing six earned runs in five innings.

But the Marlins rallied with four runs in the first, led 11-4 by the fourth inning and totaled 20 hits in the matchup of the majors’ two lowest-scoring teams.

Rookie Justin Bour hit his 20th homer, and Dee Gordon’s three hits hiked his average to .332.

Fernandez (6-0) needed the support. He also needed 96 pitches to make it through five innings and qualify for the victory, which made him 17-0 in 26 home starts over his three-year career.


BOSTON (AP) – Rich Hill kept up his startling comeback, pitching a two-hitter and striking out 10 as Boston beat Baltimore.

The 35-year-old Hill (2-0) was released by Washington in June, then played for the Long Island Ducks in an independent league before signing a minor league deal with the Red Sox in August.

Hill threw his second career shutout – the other came in 2006 with the Chicago Cubs. The game ended when right fielder Mookie Betts made a leaping catch at the wall, robbing Chris Davis of a homer.

Hill gave up a hit to the first batter he faced before holding Baltimore hitless until Dariel Alvarez opening the ninth with an infield single.

Earlier this month, Hill became the first Red Sox pitcher to fan 10 or more in his initial two starts.

David Ortiz had three doubles and three RBIs. Kevin Gausman (3-7) took the loss.


SAN DIEGO (AP) – A.J. Pollock hit his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in his first two at-bats, and Arizona beat San Diego in Casey Kelly’s first big league start in just under three seasons.

Kelly, acquired along with three other players in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston in December 2010, last started for the Padres on Sept. 27, 2012. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery on April 1, 2013.

Kelly (0-1) allowed six runs and six hits in five innings, struck out one and walked one.

Arizona’s Rubby De La Rosa (14-8), who underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 9, 2011, reached a career high in wins. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.