Cubs move ahead of Giants, edge a 5-4 vic­tory

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Chicago rookie Kyle Sch­war­ber home­red in his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game to help the Cubs edge San Fran­cisco 5-4 on Thurs­day, mov­ing half a game ahead of the Giants in the race for the sec­ond wild card in the Na­tional League.

One team un­likely to re­quire a wild card to make the play­offs is St. Louis, which shut out Cincinnati to move six games clear atop the NL Cen­tral stand­ings.

In the Amer­i­can League, Cen­tral leader Kansas City lost to a ninthin­ning Ian Kinsler homer at Detroit, but near­est di­vi­sional ri­val Min­nesota was also beaten, with Toronto com­plet­ing a four-game sweep of the Twins.

The Cubs, a gen­uine play­off hope at this stage of a sea­son for the first time in years, won for the sev­enth time in eight games.

Jorge Soler hit a two-run sin­gle in the first in­ning and Sch­war­ber made it 5-0 with a three-run drive in the sec­ond. But in­stead of an easy win, the Cubs had to hang on.

San Fran­cisco was within a run af­ter six in­nings, but Chicago’s bullpen stood up, with Jason Motte, Pe­dro Strop and Hec­tor Ron­don pitch­ing a score­less in­ning each to se­cure vic­tory.

St. Louis’ Michael Wacha gave a tired bullpen a respite by throw­ing seven in­nings in the rain to guide the Car­di­nals to a 3-0 win against Cincinnati.

The Car­di­nals im­proved to 30 games over a .500 win­ning per­cent­age for the first time since the end of the 2013 sea­son. They have the best record in the ma­jor leagues at 69-39. They have won 15 of their last 18 se­ries against the Reds, and shut out Cincinnati for 18 in­nings over the last two games.

Wacha (13-4), who over­came a 68-minute rain de­lay at the start, al­lowed only two run­ners past sec­ond base.

Detroit’s Ian Kinsler hit a tworun homer in the ninth in­ning to lift the Tigers past Kansas City 8-6.

Jose Igle­sias led off the ninth with a sin­gle against Ryan Mad­son (1-2) be­fore Kinsler hit a fast­ball into the bullpen be­yond left field.

Vic­tor Martinez hit a three-run homer in the third and a two-run shot in the fifth to help the Tigers take a 6-3 lead. Martinez hadn’t home­red since July 17 and hadn’t had a mul­ti­homer game in five years.

Toronto’s Ed­win En­car­na­cion hit a two-run homer to help the Blue Jays beat strug­gling Min­nesota 9-3.

En­car­na­cion went 3 for 4 with four RBIs and scored twice for the surg­ing Blue Jays, who won their fifth straight and swept a fourgame se­ries from the Twins for the first time.

Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (12-5) al­lowed three runs in seven in­nings to win his third con­sec­u­tive de­ci­sion. He is 30-19 with a 3.68 ERA in 54 ap­pear­ances against Min­nesota.

The Twins have lost five straight to drop back to an even win-loss record for the first time in three months.

New York’s Ja­coby Ells­bury hit a tiebreak­ing homer in the sev­enth to snap out of a slump and help the Yan­kees edge Bos­ton 2-1.

C.C. Sa­bathia pitched six gritty in­nings af­ter leav­ing his pre­vi­ous out­ing with de­hy­dra­tion, lead­ing New York to a se­ries vic­tory over the Red Sox.

Next for the AL East lead­ers is a key week­end se­ries against Toronto. The di­vi­sion ri­vals, sep­a­rated by 4-1/2 games, play the first of 13 re­main­ing games against one another Fri­day.

Hous­ton’s Jed Lowrie hit an RBI dou­ble off Ed­ward Mu­jica with two outs in the 10th in­ning to lift the Astros over Oak­land 5-4.

Washington’s Ian Desmond broke out of a pro­longed slump with a home run and a dou­ble, and Bryce Harper reached base five times to help the Na­tion­als beat Ari­zona 8-3.

Los An­ge­les ace Zack Greinke had a rare bad day on the mound but made up for it at the plate, go­ing 3 for 3 with a homer to lead the Dodgers to a 10-8 vic­tory over Philadelphia.

Mil­wau­kee’s Khris Davis hit two three-run homers for Mil­wau­kee, pow­er­ing the Brew­ers to a 10-1 win against San Diego.

At­lanta’s Eury Perez drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth in­ning and Nick Markakis had three RBIs to help the Braves de­feat Mi­ami 9-8.

AP

Chicago Cubs cen­ter fielder Dex­ter Fowler catches a ball hit by San Fran­cisco Giants’ An­gel Pa­gan dur­ing the first in­ning of a base­ball game, in Chicago, Illi­nois, Thurs­day, Aug. 6.

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