Cards beat Cubs 8-0, take over 1st place in NL Central

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jack Flaherty struck out nine in seven strong innings and Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 8-0 Thursday in a matchup of NL Central leaders.

The Cardinals won two games in the three-game set and claimed first in the division, a game ahead of Chicago. The Cubs have lost four of six overall and 11 of their last 16 on the road.

Flaherty (5-6) allowed just one hit and walked two in recording his first win since May 14, a span of 79 days and 12 starts. The right-hander held the Cubs without a hit until newcomer Nicholas Castellanos singled to right with two out in the sixth.

Wieters capped off a four-run, sixth-inning outburst with a three-run homer off Derek Holland.

Jose Martinez, Kolten Wong and Yairo Muniz had RBI singles for the Cardinals.

Jon Lester (9-7) gave up five earned runs on nine hits over five-plus innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.

ASTROS 7, INDIANS 1

CLEVELAND (AP) — Gerrit Cole pitched one-run ball over seven innings and extended his winning streak to a career-best nine games as Houston beat Cleveland, spoiling the home debut of Yasiel Puig and the return of Danny Salazar.

Cole (13-5) gave up four hits, all in the first four innings, and struck out four for Houston.

Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez drove in two runs apiece, while George Springer hit his MLB-leading eighth leadoff home run and scored three times. Bregman went 3 for 3 with a solo homer.

Puig doubled off the wall in the fourth and went 1 for 3 with a stolen base in his first game since being acquired from Cincinnati. Franmil Reyes, who came over from San Diego in the same three-team trade, had a single in four at-bats.

Salazar (0-1) allowed two runs in four innings in his first appearance in the majors since the 2017 AL Division Series. He struck out two and topped out at 88.3 MPH in 66 pitches in his comeback from surgery on his throwing shoulder last July.

RAYS 9, RED SOX 4

BOSTON (AP) — Rookie left-hander Brendan McKay struck out seven, Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows homered, and Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep over Boston.

The Rays have won four straight and hold the AL’s final wild card by a half-game over Oakland. Boston fell 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox lost their fourth straight and fell 10 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees.

Tommy Pham had two RBI singles and Jesús Aguilar singled and scored twice in his debut for the Rays. Eric Sogard also had two hits for the Rays.

McKay (2-1) got his second win in the majors, holding Boston to three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Xander Bogaerts went 4 for 4 with two homers, and Mookie Betts also homered for the Red Sox.

PHILLIES 10, GIANTS 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.T. Realmuto hit a three-run homer and fell a triple shy of the cycle, Cesar Hernandez and Roman Quinn also went deep, and Philadelphia beat San Francisco.

Jake Arrieta pitched two-hit ball into the fifth but was pulled after 71 pitches because of a bone spur in his right elbow. He allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits, striking out five in four-plus innings. Jose Alvarez (2-2) and three relievers tossed five scoreless innings.

Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez (4-6) gave up seven runs — four earned — and eight hits in three innings.

Brandon Belt and Mike Yastrzemski had RBI singles for the Giants, who climbed into the wild-card race with a 19-6 record in July.

MARLINS 5, TWINS 4, 12 INNINGS

MIAMI (AP) — Newly acquired Minnesota reliever Sam Dyson blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning, then Harold Ramirez hit a leadoff homer in the 12th to make Miami a winner.

Dyson, acquired from San Francisco on Wednesday, faced four batters and didn’t retire any of them, allowing two walks and two hits before being pulled.

The Marlins tied it with three runs, and Ramirez homered in the 12th, connecting off Cody Stashak (0-1) to avert a three-game sweep. Ramirez also doubled home a run in the second.

Max Kepler led off the game with his 30th homer and Byron Buxton drove in two runs with his 30th double for the Twins.

Jeff Brigham (1-0) earned his first career victory with two perfect innings.

METS 4, WHITE SOX 0

CHICAGO (AP) — Zack Wheeler tossed seven innings of four-hit ball, Robinson Canó drove in two runs with a homer and double and New York beat Chicago for its seventh straight win.

Wilson Ramos also drove in a run as the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox and won their 13th of 17 overall.

Chicago has dropped eight of nine and is 4-16 since the All-Star break.

Wheeler (8-6) struck out seven and walked none in his second start after a 2½-week stint on injured list with shoulder fatigue. Luis Avilán and Jeurys Familia completed the four-hitter.

Rookie Dylan Cease (1-4) allowed four runs, three earned, in seven innings in his fifth and longest start since joining Chicago’s rotation.

ATHLETICS 5, BREWERS 3

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Matt Chapman hit a two-run home run off struggling closer Josh Hader (1-5) in the eighth and Oakland beat Milwaukee.

Chad Pinder also went deep and Mark Canha added three hits to help the A’s win their fourth in five games.

Christian Yelich doubled to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games for Milwaukee. Mike Moustakas added two hits, and Trent Grisham had a sacrifice fly in his major league debut with the Brewers.

Blake Treinen (6-3) retired three batters to win, and Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth for his 10th save.

BLUE JAYS 11, ORIOLES 2

BALTIMORE (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit two of Toronto’s five home runs to back a solid performance by fellow rookie Trent Thornton in a win over Baltimore.

Randal Grichuk, Danny Jansen and Billy McKinney also homered for the Blue Jays, who tied a season high with their fourth straight win. Guerrero’s homers included an impressive 450-foot shot off Dylan Tate in the eighth inning.

Toronto reinstated Thornton (4-7) from the 10-day injured list for elbow inflammation, and he allowed one run and five hits without a walk over six innings.

Trey Mancini hit his 25th home run, a solo shot in the eighth for Baltimore.

BRAVES 4, REDS 1, 6 INNINGS

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer, Adam Duvall went deep and Max Fried pitched six strong innings to lead Atlanta past Cincinnati in a game that was cut short by heavy rain.

Fried threw one pitch in the top of the seventh before a line of strong thunderstorms swept across SunTrust Park. Nearly two hours after play was halted, lightning continued to crackle across the sky and sheets of rain turned the warning track into a muddy mess. With no sign of the storm letting up, the game was finally called.

Fried (12-4) breezed to this third straight win, surrendering just four hits.

Reds starter Anthony DeSclafini (6-6) trailed 3-0 before he got his first out.

DODGERS 8, PADRES 2

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rookie Will Smith hit his first career grand slam, and Clayton Kershaw passed Sandy Koufax on the Dodgers‘ career strikeouts list while throwing six strong innings in Los Angeles’ win over San Diego.

Cody Bellinger hit his first homer in two weeks and added a two-run double for the major league-leading Dodgers (72-39). Matt Beaty had an RBI double.

Hunter Renfroe hit his 30th homer and Manny Machado had an RBI single for the Padres.

Kershaw (10-2) recorded five strikeouts, giving him 2,397 for his career. He struggled with five walks and gave up one hit in every inning.

Joey Lucchesi (7-6) yielded four hits and three walks.