Cubs stay hot Chicago wins 5th straight

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - SPORTS - BY JOHN JACK­SON

CHICAGO — Ad­di­son Rus­sell re­ceived a rous­ing ova­tion as he stepped to the plate for the first time in six weeks. Then he gave the crowd a rea­son to cheer even louder.

Rus­sell home­red in his first at-bat since be­ing ac­ti­vated from the dis­abled list, Kyle Hen­dricks pitched ef­fec­tively into the eighth in­ning and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Car­di­nals 4-1 on Satur­day to in­crease their NL Central lead.

Chicago has won five straight and leads Mil­wau­kee by 3½ games and St. Louis by five in the di­vi­sion.

“That was a pretty spe­cial mo­ment in my life,” Rus­sell said of his first ca­reer pinch­hit homer in the eighth. “Walk­ing to the plate, I couldn’ t help but smile inside.”

The 23-year-old had been side­lined since early Au­gust with plan­tar fasci­itis of the right foot. T he in­jury per­sisted longer than ex­pected and the de­ci­sion to ac­ti­vate him wasn’t made un­til a few hours be­fore game time.

“Of course, we’ re not ex­pect­ing that,” man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “I just wanted to get him an at-bat.”

Al­bert Almo ra Jr. had three hits and two RBIs for the Cubs.

Hen­dricks (7-5) al­lowed one run and six hits in a sea­son-high 7.2 in­nings. He struck out five and walked one

Wade Davis got the fi­nal three outs for his 30th save in 30 chances, ex­tend­ing his Cubs record. He has con­verted 36 straight go­ing back to last sea­son for the long­est ac­tive streak in the ma­jors.

Matt Car­pen­ter home­red in the eighth for the Car­di­nals’ run.

Michael W acha (12-8) al­lowed three runs and six hits in 5.2 in­nings.

The Cubs man­aged just one hit over the first three in­nings be­fore break­ing through in the fourth. Almora and Ian Happ had RBI sin­gles to make it 2-0.

Wacha, though, avoided a big in­ning by strik­ing out Javier Baez and Hen­dricks (sand­wiched around a walk to Jon Jay) to leave the bases loaded.

In the fifth, An­thony Rizzo and Will­son Con­tr­eras drew two-out walks fol­low­ing lengthy at-bats (a to­tal of 20 pitches) to put two run­ners on. Almora then ripped the first pitch he saw into the left­cen­ter gap, scor­ing Rizzo for a 3-0 lead.

“His stuff was great ,” man­ager Mike Ma­theny said of Wacha. “In the fourth, just the walk, a cou­ple hard hit balls, but I thought his stuff looked re­ally good. He threw good enough for us to have a chance to get him a win.”

Hen­dricks re­tired the first two bat­ters in the eighth be­fore Car­pen­ter hit a solo shot to left.

“He was re­ally good ,” Mad­don said of Hen­dricks. “Ev­ery­thing was work­ing. They were hav­ing bad takes. His fast­ball was the best fast­ball he’s had all year.”

RUS­SELL AT SHORT

De­spite Baez’ s stel­lar de­fense of late, Mad don made it clear that Rus­sell will play only short­stop when he’s on the field.

“If you look at what Addy did last year, that’s pretty darn good ,” the man­ager said. “He made the All-Star team, 20-some­thing homers, al­most 100 RBIs, one of the bet­ter de­fend­ers in all of base­ball. Javy’s done great, but in my mind’s eye when Addy’s there and Javy’s at sec­ond, it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to beat.”

Rus­sell stayed in the game at short in the ninth with Baez mov­ing to sec­ond.

Reds 2, Pi­rates 1

CINCIN­NATI—Sal Ro­mano pitched a ca­reer-high eight shutout in­nings, Jesse Winker home­red and the Cincin­nati Reds beat the reel­ing Pitts­burgh Pi­rates.

Ro­mano (5-6) al­lowed five hits, struck out six and walked none while im­prov­ing to 3-1 over his last six starts. Elias Diaz’s one-out dou­ble in the fifth was the only run­ner to get past first base against the rookie right-han­der.

Pitts­burgh avoided a shutout when An­drew McCutchen hit his 26th homer in the ninth. But Cody Reed came in with a run­ner on first and re­tired Gre­gory Polanco on a grounder to sec­ond for his first ca­reer save.

The Reds won back-to-back games for the first time since sweep­ing Mil­wau­kee in a se­ries that ended on Sept. 6.

The Pi­rates wasted a ter­rific start by Ivan Nova in their fourth con­sec­u­tive loss. McCutchen and Diaz each had two hits.

Dodgers 3, Na­tion­als 2

WASH­ING­TON — Cody Bellinger hit his 38th homer to match the Na­tional League sin­gle-sea­son record for rook­ies, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als to inch closer to the NL West ti­tle.

Chase Ut­ley had two dou­bles and scored twice to help the Dodgers re­duce their magic num­ber to win the di­vi­sion to five. Los Angeles also moved seven games ahead of the Na­tion­als in the race to se­cure home-field ad­van­tage through­out the NL play­offs.

Los Angeles has won four straight since drop­ping 11 in a row. The win­ning streak in­cludes the first two games of this se­ries, which con­cludes Sun­day.

An­thony Ren­don home­red for the Na­tion­als, who have lost four of five since clinch­ing the NL East last Sun­day.

Amer­i­can League Yankees 9, Orioles 3

NEW YORK — Didi Grego- rius and Greg Bird both home­red for the sec­ond straight game, rookie Jor­dan Mont­gomery pitched six shutout in­nings and the New York Yankees downed the Bal­ti­more Orioles for their fourth win in a row.

The Yankees (82-66) ex­tended their stretch of win­ning sea­sons to 25, the sec­ond-long­est such streak in ma­jor league his­tory be­hind their own 39 straight from 1926-64.

The Yankees be g an the day three games be­hind AL East-lead­ing Bos­ton. New York was atop the wild-card race, four games ahead of Min­nesota.

Gre­go­rius and Bird each hit three-run homers and Todd Frazier added a tworun shot as the Yankees won for the sev­enth time in eight games. They are a sea­son­high 16 games over .500.

Bal­ti­more has lost nine of 10 as it con­tin­ues to fall out of play­off con­tention.

Mont­gomery (8-7) scat­tered four hits in his fifth star t against the Orioles this year. The rookie left-han­der struck out six and walked one.

Jeremy Hel­lick­son (8-10) took the loss.

Astros 8, Mariners 6

HOUS­TON — Dal­las K euch el threw six solid in­nings, Car­los Bel­tran had three hits and two RBIs and the Hous­ton Astros beat the Seat­tle Mariners to drop their magic num­ber to one for clinch­ing the AL West ti­tle.

The Astros (90-58) reached 90 wins for the first time since 2004. They are looking for the fran­chise’s sev­enth di­vi­sion ti­tle after win­ning the Na­tional League West in 1980 and 1986 and cap­tur­ing the NL Central in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001.

In­di­ans 8, Royals 4

CLEVE­LAND — Francisco Lin­dor hit an RBI dou­ble and the Cleve­land In­di­ans bounced back after hav­ing their record streak stopped at 22 by beat­ing the Kansas City Royals to move to the brink of an AL Central ti­tle.

Lindo r’ s dou­ble in the sixth of f Ja­son Ham­mel (8-12) gave the All-Star short­stop an ex­tra-base hit in a club-record 10 straight games. The ma­jor league record is 14 straight, shared by Chip­per Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).

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