Pirates Fail to Sweep Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – This time David Price denied the Pittsburgh Pirates their first series sweep of the season.

Price struck out 11, becoming the first pitcher in 10 years to fan at least 10 in five straight starts, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Pirates 5-1 on Wednesday.

“It’s always fun to watch pitchers command the baseball,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “I’m sure it’s been said before, Price was right today. His 107th pitch was 97 (mph), so he was on his game. He’s been one of the best for a while.”

The Pirates failed for the seventh time to finish off a series sweep of at least three games this season. Pittsburgh hasn’t swept a series since their finale last season against Cincinnati.

Price (6-7) gave up five hits and one walk in 8 1-3 innings, leaving the game after Andrew McCutchen’s home run in the ninth. The last pitcher with five straight starts of 10 strikeouts was Minnesota’s Johan Santana from June 20-July 11, 2004.

With speculation growing that Price will be dealt before the trade deadline, the left-hander tipped his cap and waved to the crowd when he was pulled from the game.

“These fans are awesome, they support us very well,” Price said. “If this is my last game here, thanks.”

Tampa Bay will start an 11-game trip Friday night at Baltimore.

Ben Zobrist’s RBI triple highlighted the Rays’ three-run first inning off Charlie Morton. Desmond Jennings and James Loney had singles, and Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Morton (4-9) struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings, giving up four hits.

“Charlie battled back,” Hurdle said. “The first inning, we’ve seen a couple outings, seems to be a little over amped. After the first inning, he just repeated his delivery. He pitched a very effective ballgame.”

Price and Morton are the second pair of pitchers to have double-digit strikeouts in the same game this year. Miami’s Jose Fernandez (14) and Atlanta’s Alex Wood (11) did it on April 22.

Zobrist and Loney each had two hits, and Kiermaier drove in two runs for the Rays, who won for only the ninth time in 29 games.

Notes: McCutchen’s homer was his 12th of the season and eighth this month. … RHP Gerrit Cole, out since June 4 with right shoulder fatigue, will return to the Pirates rotation on Saturday against the New York Mets.

National League

Reds 4, Cubs 1

CHICAGO (AP) – Mat Latos pitched seven sharp innings for his first win of the season and Jay Bruce had two run-scoring doubles, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

With the wind blowing in on a cold summer night, Devin Mesoraco’s five-game homer streak came to an end. The Reds catcher was tied with Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Johnny Bench, George Crowe and Ted Kluszewski for the franchise record.

Latos (1-0) allowed one run and five hits in his third start after beginning the season on the disabled list. It was his first win since Sept. 20 against Pittsburgh.

Latos was coming off a frustrating no-decision against Toronto, when he was staked to an 8-0 lead and was unable to hold on. He gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings as the Blue Jays rallied for a 14-9 victory Friday night.

Edwin Jackson (5-8) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings for Chicago, which has dropped four of five. Starlin Castro had two hits and drove in a run.

The Cubs dropped two of three against the Reds to fall to 12-31 against Cincinnati over the last three seasons.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run double, Henderson Alvarez threw 6 2-3 sharp innings and the Miami Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Wednesday.

Alvarez (5-3) allowed two runs – one earned – and seven hits. He is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last seven starts.

A.J. Burnett (5-7) gave up three runs and five hits, striking out eight in seven innings. A poor defensive play by left fielder Domonic Brown cost Burnett three runs in the fourth inning.

The Marlins have won two of the first three in the four-game set. They had lost eight of their previous nine games in Philadelphia before this series.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 6

DENVER (AP) – Matt Adams homered and drove in two runs, Matt Holliday had three hits, and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 9-6 on Wednesday.

Drew Stubbs homered, and Justin Morneau had two hits for the Rockies, who finished their homestand 1-5.

The game featured the major league debuts of both starting pitchers. St. Louis’ Marco Gonzales was sharp early before faltering. Colorado’s Yohan Flande also started well before getting hit hard in his last inning.

Pat Neshek (2-0) pitched an inning in relief to earn the win. Trevor Rosenthal got four outs for his 23rd save in 26 chances.

Brewers 9, Nationals 2

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Scooter Gennett had a grand slam and five RBIs, Khris Davis added a solo shot and the Milwaukee Brewers roughed up ace Stephen Strasburg in a 9-2 victory Wednesday over the Washington Nationals.

Homer-prone starter Marco Estrada (7-4) allowed just two hits – and no homers -and pitched effectively into the seventh for the Brewers, who bounced back nicely a day after falling 4-2 in 16 innings to Washington.

Davis finished with three RBIs in a game in which nearly everything went right for Milwaukee. Carlos Gomez even drove home a run in the sixth on what looked like a swinging bunt that rolled slowly up the third-base line and stayed fair.

American League

Tigers 8, Rangers 6

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez homered on consecutive pitches by different Texas pitchers and the Detroit Tigers stretched their winning streak to six games, 8-6 over the Rangers on Wednesday night.

The unrelated Martinez sluggers hit their homers in the fifth – Victor leading off against Joe Saunders (0-4) before J.D. went deep on the first pitch thrown by reliever Shawn Tolleson. They also had consecutive doubles when the AL Central-leading Tigers went ahead to stay with three runs in the first inning.

Texas lost its seventh consecutive game, the longest current losing streak in the majors.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3

TORONTO (AP) – Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run, Hiroki Kuroda won for the first time in four starts and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Wednesday night, snapping their losing streak at four games.

Kuroda (5-5) won for the first time since May 28, at St. Louis, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

David Robertson got the final five outs for his 18th save in 20 chances.

Drew Hutchison (5-6) lost for the third time in four starts, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Hutchison is 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season.


Dodgers 5, Royals 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Wade Davis plunked A.J. Ellis of the Dodgers with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning Wednesday night, sending Los Angeles to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Jamey Wright (3-2) threw 2 2-3 scoreless innings in relief of Dan Haren to pick up the win.

Davis (5-2) had not allowed a run in 22 1-3 innings spanning his last 20 outings. But after nearly escaping a jam by catching Adrian Gonzalez in a rundown between third base and home for the second out of the eighth, the reliever walked Scott Van Slyke to load the bases.

Davis then had a 1-2 count on Ellis before hitting him in the shoulder.

Braves 4, Astros 0

HOUSTON (AP) – Justin Upton homered for the second straight game and drove in three runs, Alex Wood pitched seven sharp innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 4-0 on Wednesday night.

Shae Simmons and Juan Jaime finished the combined three-hitter as the Astros were shut out for the 10th time this season.

The Braves had just two hits when Upton launched his 16th homer, a two-run shot into the bullpen in right-center, to make it 3-0 in the seventh inning. Collin McHugh (4-6) had plunked Jason Heyward to set up things for Upton.