Cubs stay hot Chicago wins 5th straight
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).