Astros win on last at-bat to sweep Angels
Houston’s Jason Castro c ame up with a dramatic three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Astros a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, completing a threegame sweep and opening a twogame lead over the Angels atop the American League West division.
AL Central leader Kansas City was beaten by Toronto, on a big day for the Blue Jays, who signaled their intent to challenge for the playoffs by making a significant player acquisition.
The AL East-leading New York Yankees were also beaten in dramatic style by Texas, while it was also close in the key National League encounter as St. Louis rallied late to edge Colorado.
The Astros-Angels game was 0-0 to start the bottom of the ninth inning when Jed Lowrie drew a walk off Jose Alvarez (2-2) with one out before a two-out single by Marwin Gonzalez. Castro then launched his homer to give Houston an important win.
Toronto started Thursday by acquiring ace pitcher David Price from Detroit, and then hit three homers to power past Kansas City 5-2.
Dioner Navarro hit a two-run home run and Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson added solo shots for the Blue Jays, who have homered in 12 consecutive games; their longest streak of the season.
Price will join the team on Friday and may start on Sunday.
Texas’ Josh Hamilton delivered a game-ending single with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Rangers a 7-6 win against the Yankees.
Hamilton, who also had a threerun homer, scored the winning run in a wild ninth inning to leave the four-game series split 2-2.
Delino DeShields drew a leadoff walk in the ninth off Nick Goody (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Yankees closer Andrew Miller got one out and DeShields became the second when he was struck on the foot by a Leonys Martin hit while running the bases.
Martin went to second on a walk and scored when Hamilton singled to right field.
St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter hit a pair of home runs and Greg Garcia’s bases-loaded walk capped a three-run rally in the ninth inning which lifted the Cardinals past Colorado 9-8.
Carpenter went 4 for 5 with four RBIs after moving back to the leadoff spot in the batting order. It was his first career multihomer game and he has a career-high 12 home runs this season.
Jhonny Peralta’s two-run single tied the game 8-8 and Garcia’s walk scored Kolten Wong as the Cardinals recorded their seventh walk-off win of the season.
Despite the defeat, St. Louis maintained a 5-1/2 game lead in the NL Central as nearest rival Pittsburgh was routed 15-5 at Cincinnati.
Brandon Phillips hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high seven runs as the Reds handed the Pirates their heaviest defeat of the season.
Marlon Byrd also hit a threerun homer, and Jay Bruce drove in three runs as Cincinnati got the better of struggling Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett (8-5).
San Diego pulled off a stunning win at the New York Mets, coming from six runs down and winning when Justin Upton hit a three-run homer through a driving rain with two outs in the ninth inning.
Mets closer Jeurys Familia entered with a 7-5 lead and got two quick outs in the ninth before a torrential downpour stopped play.
When play resumed 44 minutes later, Derrick Norris singled with his fifth hit of the game; a career high. Matt Kemp singled as the rain began again and Upton, in what could be his final at-bat with the Padres before being traded, homered on the first pitch he faced. The rain arrived again in the bottom of the ninth, halting play for 2:52, before Padres closer Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth in front of just a few hundred fans.
Detroit’s Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs to give the Tigers a 9-8 win at Baltimore.
The win came on the same day that Detroit — mired in fourth place in the AL Central — dealt David Price to Toronto and closer Joakim Soria to Pittsburgh.
After an active day of dealing, the Tigers notched 16 hits, including three apiece by Cespedes, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias.
The Tigers led 9-2 in the sixth and hung on against the fastfinishing Orioles.
Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario had a homer, triple and double and drove in three runs to help the Twins snap a four-game skid and beat Seattle 9-5.
Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning as the Cubs beat Milwaukee 5-2.
Washington’s Max Scherzer pitched seven scoreless innings to steer the Nationals past Miami 1-0.
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz each had three hits as the Red Sox won 8-2 and ended a run of seven successive wins for the Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco pitched a complete game to guide the Indians to a 3-1 win against Oakland.
Philadelphia’s Domonic Brown homered in a 4-1 win for the Phillies against Atlanta.
(Right) St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter is congratulated by first base coach Chris Maloney after hitting his second home run of a baseball game during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies in St. Louis, Missouri, Thursday.
(Above) Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton, foreground, is doused by Brayan Pena, center right, after a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thursday, July 30.