Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer, Jon Lester threw seven scoreless innings and Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman finished off the Chicago Cubs' 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
It was Bryant's first career game against the team that passed on him with the first pick in the 2013 draft to take starter Mark Appel, who was traded to Philadelphia this offseason before ever playing in the majors. Bryant, taken second in that draft, gave Houston an up-close look at what could have been when he smacked his 37th homer off Joe Musgrove (2-4) to put the Cubs up 2-0 in the fifth inning.
Lester (16-4) allowed seven hits and struck out seven for his seventh straight win. He hasn't lost since July 3, hasn't allowed a run in three of those starts and gave up just one run in four others in that span. Rondon took over for the eighth and struck out two before Aroldis Chapman struck out one in a perfect ninth for his 13th save. The Cubs are major league-best 90-50.
MARLINS 4, DODGERS 1
MIAMI (AP) Jose Fernandez tied a career high with 14 strikeouts, overshadowing Clayton Kershaw's return from injury in Miami's victory over Los Angeles.
Fernandez (14-8) gave up three hits and three walks in seven shutout innings. It was the fifth time he has struck out 14, and third this season.
Kershaw (11-3) had not started for the Dodgers since June 26 because of a mild disk herniation in his back. He threw 66 pitches, 46 for strikes, and allowed two runs and five hits over three innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP struck out five and did not walk a batter.
J.T. Realmuto homered for Miami, which improved to 5-0 against the NL West leaders this season. Yasmani Grandal hit his 25th homer in the ninth for the Dodgers, who tried to rally against Fernando Rodney before A.J. Ramos came in and closed it out for his career-best 33rd save.
RED SOX 13, BLUE JAYS 3
TORONTO (AP) – Rick Porcello pitched seven innings to become the first 20-game winner in the majors, Hanley Ramirez hit a three-run homer and Boston beat Toronto to increase its AL East lead to two games.
Xander Bogaerts homered, Dustin Pedroia had three hits and four RBIs, and the Red Sox used 18 hits to rough up the sloppy, slumping Blue Jays in the opener of a pivotal three-game series between the division's top two teams.
Porcello (20-3) allowed two runs and six hits to become Boston's first 20-game winner since Josh Beckett in 2007. Marco Estrada (8-8) was the loser.
The Red Sox broke it open by scoring six runs in a 10-batter seventh. Bogaerts hit a leadoff drive off Scott Feldman, his 18th. Three batters later, Ramirez connected off Feldman, his 22nd. Pedroia capped the rally with a two-run single off Ryan Tepera.
INDIANS 6, TWINS 5
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Mike Napoli hit a mammoth home run on the first pitch of the fifth inning to give Cleveland the lead, and the Indians beat Minnesota maintain their six-game lead in the AL Central.
The Indians won for the ninth time in their last 11 games, but a concern came up when starter Danny Salazar was removed after four innings due to tightness in his right forearm.
Napoli's drive off Tyler Duffey (8-11) was estimated by the Twins at 456 feet, landing in the third deck above left field. That followed Byron Buxton's two-out, two-run homer that tied the game against Salazar in the fourth. Joe Mauer also went deep and Brian Dozier added an RBI double, but the Twins have lost 23 of their last 29.
Joe Colon (1-1) completed the fifth inning for the victory and Cody Allen finished the ninth for his 27th save in 30 attempts.
TIGERS 4, ORIOLES 3
DETROIT (AP) – Victor Martinez hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, and Detroit beat Baltimore to pull even with the Orioles for the American League's second wild card.
Michael Fulmer pitched seven solid innings, and the Tigers won after blowing a 3-0 lead. The Orioles tied it in the eighth when Adam Jones hit an RBI single, but Martinez led off the bottom half with a drive to right-center field off reliever Brad Brach (8-3).
Alex Wilson (3-0) got the win even after allowing the tying run in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 40th saves. He's tied with Baltimore's Zach Britton for the AL lead.
J.D. Martinez hit a two-run single in the fifth to give Detroit a 3-0 lead, but Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer the following inning to start Baltimore's comeback.
METS 6, BRAVES 4
ATLANTA (AP) – Kelly Johnson had a pinch-hit double to drive in the go-ahead run in New York's four-run eighth inning, and the Mets overcame a four-run deficit to beat Atlanta for their sixth straight win.
Curtis Granderson, who hit a two-run homer in the sixth, had a run-scoring single to tie the game. Johnson's double down the right-field line off Maurico Cabrera drove in Asdrubal Cabrera.
Johnson was traded from Atlanta to the Mets on June 8 and has twice made the Braves pay for the move. His 11th-inning, pinch-hit homer gave the Mets a 1-0 win over Atlanta on June 25.
The surging Mets lead St. Louis by percentage points in the race for the second NL wild card. The defending NL champions have won 15 of 19 to match their season high at nine games over .500.
Hansel Robles (6-4) worked a scoreless seventh. Jeurys Familia pitched around Adonis Garcia's leadoff double and a two-out walk to Nick Markakis in the ninth for his major league-leading 48th save.
Matt Kemp homered for Atlanta. Maurico Cabrera (3-1) was the loser.
NATIONALS 5, PHILLIES 4
WASHINGTON (AP) – Trea Turner hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth, a solo shot that lifted Washington past Philadelphia.
It was the first multihomer game for the rookie, whose two-run drive in the seventh put Washington up 4-1. Cameron Rupp hit a three-run homer off Koda Glover to knot the score in the eighth and set the stage for Turner's ninth-inning heroics.
Facing Frank Herrmann (0-2), Turner ripped a 1-2 pitch over the wall in center field.
Mark Melancon (2-1) worked the ninth for Washington.
CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 3
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty hit two-run homers in the fourth, Carlos Martinez pitched seven solid innings and St. Louis beat Milwaukee.
St. Louis trailed 3-0 when Martinez started the rally with a two-out single that was followed by Carpenter's 19th home run, a walk to Kolten Wong and Piscotty's 21st homer.
Martinez (14-7) gave up nine hits and two earned runs and was helped by three double plays.
Seung-Hwan Oh worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.
Jimmy Nelson (7-14) allowed both homers and five hits in six innings.
Scooter Gennett's two-run homer in the third gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
WHITE SOX 7, ROYALS 2
CHICAGO (AP) – Carlos Rodon struck out a season-high nine over six innings, Adam Eaton doubled twice and scored two runs and Chicago beat Kansas City.
Rodon (7-8) fanned Paulo Orlando with the bases loaded on his 116th pitch to end the sixth inning and move to 5-0 in his last seven starts.
Kendrys Morales had a two-run single in the first inning for Kansas City, which has dropped six of nine and remained four games behind the second wild card.
Eaton doubled to lead off the first and fifth innings off Yordano Ventura (10-10) and scored each time on Melky Cabrera RBIs. Tyler Saladino had three hits and drove in two runs in Chicago's third straight win over a playoff contender.
REDS 4, PIRATES 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Jose Peraza's sacrifice fly snapped a ninth-inning tie and lifted Cincinnati past Pittsburgh, ending the Reds' five-game losing streak.
Eugenio Suarez hit a leadoff single off closer Tony Watson (2-5), advanced to second on Ramon Cabrera's sacrifice bunt, took third on Tyler Holt's single and scored on Peraza's liner to center field.
Andrew McCutchen tied it for the Pirates in the eighth with a sacrifice fly off Raisel Iglesias (3-1). Iglesias hit the first two batters in the ninth with pitches but escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Josh Harrison to pop out and pinch-hitter Adam Frazier to fly out.
Joey Votto had three hits for the Reds, Suarez had two and Brandon Phillips hit his 10th home run, a leadoff shot in the seventh off Jared Hughes that put Cincinnati ahead 3-2.