Molina, DeJong HRs carry Cardinals past struggling Cubs 9-8

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CHICAGO (AP)Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong homered on Craig Kimbrel’s first two pitches in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals handed the reeling Chicago Cubs their fifth straight loss with a wild 9-8 victory on Saturday.

Marcell Ozuna also connected as the NL Central-leading Cardinals (88-67) won for the fifth time in six games. Dexter Fowler had two hits and two RBIs, and Paul Goldschmidt also drove in two runs.

Chicago (82-73) used pinch-hit homers by Ian Happ and Tony Kemp and a solo drive by rookie Nico Hoerner to carry an 8-7 lead into the ninth. It looked as if it was on its way to stopping a costly slide that pushed it out of playoff position – the Cubs began the day two games back of Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.

But Kimbrel (0-4) was hit hard again in his first appearance since he gave up Matt Carpenter’s 10th-inning homer in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss Thursday night.

Molina jumped on Kimbrel’s first pitch for his ninth homer, touching off a rollicking celebration in the Cardinals’ dugout.

DeJong then belted an even deeper drive for his 28th homer, sending the party on the Cardinals’ half of the field to another level.

John Gant (11-1) got the last out of the eighth for the win, and Carlos Martinez finished for his 23rd save.


CINCINNATI (AP) – Pinch-hitter Christian Colon’s two-out single off Seth Lugo broke an eighth-inning tie, lifting Cincinnati over the Mets and dealing New York a critical defeat in the NL wild card race.

New York (80-74) went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and dropped four games back of Milwaukee for the second wild card with eight games left. The Brewers played last-place Pittsburgh later Saturday.

Justin Wilson (4-2) took the loss.

Joel Kuhnel (1-0) got the final out of the eighth for his first major league win. Raisel Iglesias picked up his 34th save in 39 chances.

A day after hitting his 50th homer, Mets rookie Pete Alonso went 0 for 4 and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth when he struck out.


HOUSTON (AP) – Houston remained just shy of its third straight AL West title, wasting a chance to clinch when Wade Miley was hit hard in a loss to Los Angeles that ended a six-game winning streak.

Houston (101-54) needs just one more win to ensure first place. The Astros also would clinch with a loss by second-place Oakland, but the A’s took a quick 9-0 lead over Texas in a late game.

Miley (14-6) allowed four runs and four hits while getting just three outs and leaving with two on in the second.

Albert Pujols hit an RBI double, Andrelton Simmons added an RBI single and Kole Calhoun hit his 33rd homer for the Angels.

Luke Bard (3-2) struck out three in two scoreless innings to win in relief of Patrick Sandoval, who lasted three innings.


NEW YORK (AP) – Giancarlo Stanton launched his first homer since missing nearly three months to injury, James Paxton won his 10th straight start and New York beat Toronto.

New York manager Aaron Boone was ejected after another tangle with a rookie umpire, and the 101-win Yankees got promising news shortly before first pitch when an MRI of Gleyber Torres’ achy right hamstring came back negative.

The AL East champions entered with a major league-leading 294 homers.

Paxton (15-6) allowed an unearned run while pitching three-hit ball over six innings. The left-hander threw just 87 pitches.

Toronto ended a five-game winning streak, which matched its best of the season.

T.J. Zeuch (1-1) racked up six strikeouts in four innings. He allowed two runs and four hits.


DETROIT (AP) – Tim Anderson homered in a three-run fifth inning, and Chicago beat Detroit.

Anderson went 1 for 4, lowering his American League-leading average to .335, but the one hit was a no-doubter of a home run to left field.

Ivan Nova (11-12) allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings for Chicago and three relievers finished. Alex Colome picked up his 29th save in 31 chances.

Detroit (45-109) matched the 1996 Tigers for the second-most losses in franchise history behind 119 in 2003.

Tyler Alexander (1-4) allowed three runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.


ATLANTA (AP) – Max Fried strengthened his case for a spot in the postseason rotation by throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings, Francisco Cervilli and Adam Duvall hit two-run homers and Atlanta beat San Francisco.

At 96-60, the Braves will finish with their most wins since 2013. San Francisco dropped to 71-81, ensuring Bruce Bochy will not have a winning record in his 25th and final season as a major league manager.

Each team rested several starters one day after the Braves clinched the NL East title.

Fried (17-6) was pulled after 65 pitches. He allowed five hits with no walks.

Making his third start since Tommy John surgery, right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-1) walked five while giving up four runs and two hits in four innings.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Nate Lowe hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning, and Tampa Bay beat Boston to move one game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild card.

Tampa Bay won its third straight game, all in 11 innings.

A day after the defending World Series champion Red Sox were mathematically eliminated, Mitch Moreland put Boston ahead 4-3 with a two-out homer in the 11th off Diego Castillo (5-8).

Travis d’Arnaud doubled off Josh Smith (0-3) in the bottom half, and Lowe sent an opposite-field drive down the left-field line.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers also homered for the Red Sox.


MILWAUKEE (AP) – Rookies Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham each hit two-run homers and Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh to increase its edge for the second NL wild-card spot.

The Brewers lead Chicago by three games in the wild-card race after the Cubs lost to St. Louis. Milwaukee remained one game behind Washington for the top wild-card slot.

Milwaukee has won seven of eight and extended its September record to 16-4, tops in the major leagues. The Brewers are 9-2 since losing reigning MVP Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap.

Brent Suter (3-0) relieved to start the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.

James Marvel (0-3) took the loss.


MIAMI (AP) – Brian Dozier hit a go-ahead RBI single during Washington’s six-run 10th inning in a win over Miami.

Dozier’s single to left off Miami reliever Jose Urena (4-10) scored Ryan Zimmerman from third. Zimmerman had led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a single by Victor Robles.

The Nationals are atop the NL wild-card race, one game ahead of Milwaukee, which has a three-game lead for the second wild card.

Washington got a pinch-hit, bases-clearing double from Kurt Suzuki in the 10th inning. Adam Eaton had an RBI single and Juan Soto walked with the bases loaded.

Wander Suero (6-8) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win and Tanner Rainey got the final three outs.

Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg was lifted with a 2-0 lead after seven innings and 109 pitches. Strasburg allowed three hits, struck out six, walked three and hit a batter.


CLEVELAND (AP) – Bryce Harper connected for a three-run homer and Philadelphia avoided sliding deeper in the NL wild-card standings with a win over Cleveland.

Brad Miller homered twice as the Phillies stayed within five games of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot.

But it was Harper’s 33rd homer in the fifth inning off left-hander Oliver Perez (2-4) that put the Phillies ahead.

Jay Bruce also homered in Philadelphia’s four-run rally in the fifth and Jason Vargas (7-8) shook off a rough start to finally get his first win in his 10th outing for the Phillies.

Rookie Oscar Mercado hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who fell one game behind Tampa Bay for the AL’s No. 2 wild-card berth. The Rays beat Boston 5-4 in 11 innings.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Closer Taylor Rogers got tagged during a seven-run ninth inning and Minnesota missed a chance to add to its AL Central lead in a loss to Kansas City.

The Twins remained four games ahead of Cleveland, which lost at home to Philadelphia.

Pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert lined a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Rogers (2-4) to begin the Royals’ big burst. Rogers gave up three runs on three hits while getting just one out.

Randy Rosario (2-0) retired the only batter he faced out of the Kansas City bullpen as the Royals ended a four-game losing streak.

Ryan O’Hearn homered off Minnesota starter Jose Berrios early and started the ninth with a single. After a sacrifice, Cuthbert connected.

LaMonte Wade Jr. homered and tripled for the Twins, who had won six of eight.


BALTIMORE (AP) – Mallex Smith scored from second base in the 13th inning after Tim Lopes beat out an infield grounder, and Seattle outlasted Baltimore.

Smith reached with two outs when Tanner Scott (1-1) dropped a short toss while covering first base for an error. Smith stole second, and Lopes followed with a grounder to third baseman Rio Ruiz.

Ruiz took a bit too long to fire to first base, and Lopes beat the throw. Smith, meanwhile, whisked around third and slid home safely ahead of the relay with an unearned run.

Dan Altavilla (2-1) worked the 12th and Erik Swanson got three outs for his second save.

J.P. Crawford homered and drove in four runs for the Mariners, and Shed Long had a solo shot among his three hits and scored three times.


SAN DIEGO (AP) – Rod Barajas lost his San Diego debut as interim manager, falling to Arizona as former Padres player Abraham Almonte had three hits and scored three runs.

Barajas was promoted from bench coach earlier in the day to replace Andy Green, who was fired because of the Padres’ second-half slide. The Padres were 45-45 at the All-Star break but have skidded to 69-86.

The managerial change didn’t stop the Padres’ skid as they lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Arizona remained tied with Philadelphia, five games behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card and also needing to overtake the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. The Diamondbacks have won five of their last seven games after losing six straight.

Taylor Clarke (5-5) pitched three innings for the win, holding San Diego to one run and two hits.

Matt Strahm (5-10) took the loss.


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ryan McMahon and Josh Fuentes hit solo homers, and Colorado defeated Los Angeles to snap a 12-game skid at Dodger Stadium.

It was the Rockies’ first win in eight games in Los Angeles this season, and their first here since June 30, 2018.

The NL West champion Dodgers were left sitting on 99 wins while trying to join Houston and the New York Yankees as the major leagues’ third 100-game winner for the third straight season.

Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-6) gave up two runs and two hits in five innings. He struck out eight and walked one. Jairo Diaz retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save.

Walker Buehler (13-4) gave up four runs and five hits in six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked three.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Marcus Semien hit his 32nd home run and reached base six times, and Oakland routed Texas to maintain its two-game lead in the AL wild card race.

Sean Manaea allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings after being staked to a big lead early to win his third straight. Matt Chapman drove in two runs and had two hits, both coming as part of a seven-run first inning.

Mark Canha also went deep and scored three times as Oakland won its fourth straight.

The A’s (94-61) lead Tampa Bay (92-63) in the chase for the top AL wild card.

Elvis Andrus, Danny Santana and Nick Solak homered for the Rangers. Texas lost its seventh straight against Oakland.

Rangers starter Brock Burke (0-2) failed to make it out of the first.

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