Pirates tighten Central Division gap as Morton leads shut out against Giants
Pittsburgh starting pitcher Charlie Morton combined with two relievers to shut out San Francisco and guide the Pirates to a 4-0 win on Thursday that saw them edge within 4-1/2 games of the National League Central Division lead.
The Pirates gained ground on idle St. Louis while in the American League, all three division leaders lost: Kansas City’s five-game winning streak was ended by Boston, Tampa Bay was led to victory over Houston by a dominant pitching performance from Chris Archer, and Cleveland hung on to edge the New York Yankees.
Pittsburgh’s Morton (8-4) struck out eight over 6-2/3 innings and left with a four-run lead after the Giants loaded the bases with two outs.
Jared Hughes, who got Gregor Blanco to line out to end the seventh-inning threat, and Tony Watson completed the shutout.
Neil Walker hit a two-run homer for the Pirates, who have seven of their past eight.
Boston’s Wade Miley pitched into the eighth inning to guide the Red Sox past Kansas City 4-1.
Miley (10-9) helped the Red Sox improve to 5-2 under bench coach Torey Lovullo, who took over when manager John Farrell announced that is being treated for cancer. Ryan Hanigan drove in two runs for Boston. Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer gave up only a fifth-inning single, and struck out 11 to lead the Rays over Houston 1-0.
It was Archer’s third career shutout and second against the Astros, having also blanked them in 2013. Archer (11-9) retired the final 15 batters, striking out five.
Colby Rasmus led off the fifth with a groundball single for Houston’s only hit and was the last man to reach base for the AL West-leading Astros.
Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin had his second impressive start since returning from shoulder surgery, and steered the Indians past the New York Yankees 3-2.
Tomlin (1-1) only allowed Alex Rodriguez’s home run leading off the fourth and a double to Chase Headley in seven deliberate innings.
Indians closer Cody Allen gave up an RBI single to Carlos Beltran and had two runners on base when he retired the final two batters.
Minnesota rookie Tyler Duffey held Baltimore scoreless into the eighth inning as the Twins routed the Orioles 15-2 at a soggy Camden Yards.
Duffey (2-1) coasted until the eighth, when he allowed two runs before being pulled with two outs. Duffey struck out eight and walked none.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez five innings, giving up seven runs.
The Orioles hadn’t allowed this many runs since 2012, when they gave up 19 to the same opponent.
Chicago’s Jake Arrieta pitched six scoreless innings for his major league-leading 15th win, guiding the Cubs to a 7-1 win against Atlanta.
Arrieta (15-6) improved to 9-1 in his past 12 starts. He struck out seven and walked one while lowering his season ERA to 2.30.
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell homered to help the Cubs back to winning ways after three straight losses.
Detroit’s Alfredo Simon threw a shutout in his first career complete game as the Tigers beat Texas 4-0.
The Chicago White Sox avoided a four-game sweep by the Los Angeles Angels by winning 8-2, with Jose Abreu’s two-run double capping a five-run fifth inning .
Arizona’s A.J. Pollock drove in two runs with a bases-loaded
(9-9) struggled through single in the eighth inning, lifting the Diamondbacks past Cincinnati 5-4 and sending the Reds to a sixth straight loss.
Colorado’s Yohan Flande pitched seven strong innings on the mound and singled twice at the plate, driving in a run and scoring one to lead the Rockies over Washington 3-2.
Miami beat Philadelphia 9-7, with Martin Prado hitting a homer and driving in three runs.
(Top) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ender Inciarte slides into home to score on a single by A.J. Pollock during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thursday, Aug. 20. (Above) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang loses his bat on a swing during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thursday.