Bucs Drop Third Straight To Cardinals in 5-2 Loss

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Lance Lynn reached double figures in wins before the All-Star break for the third straight year and Kolten Wong homered for the second game in a row, helping St. Louis beat Pittsburgh for the third straight time, 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Matt Adams had three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who will go for a four-game sweep over the NL Central rival they beat in the division series last fall today, although they might have to do it without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina.

Molina was removed for a pinch-hitter in the third inning with a sprained right thumb from sliding into third base and will be re-evaluated before the finale. He caught another half-inning before leaving the game.

Neil Walker homered and doubled for Pittsburgh, which had won 12 of 15 entering the series and dropped the first two on game-winning, ninth-inning homers by Adams and Wong.

Rookie Brandon Cumpton (3-3) started in place of injured Gerrit Cole and was charged with four runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.

Lynn (10-6) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings and has 32 wins before the All-Star break his first three seasons in the rotation. The right-hander is tied for most pre-All-Star wins with Detroit’s Max Scherzer over that stretch and is the first Cardinals pitcher to do it in three straight seasons since Hall of Famer Bob Gibson totaled 34 wins from 1968-70.

Walker’s 12th homer leading off the second was the first allowed by Lynn at home this season.

Adams’ two-run double in the first put the Cardinals ahead to stay and he added two singles to give him 12 in the last six games. Wong hit his fourth homer off Justin Wilson in the eighth.

Molina was voted to his sixth straight All-Star team Sunday and is a starter for the fourth time.

He slid feet-first into third base advancing on a groundout in the second and came up shaking the right hand after planting it a bit for balance.

Matt Holliday had two hits, two walks and an RBI and Jhonny Peralta had an RBI double for St. Louis.

Cumpton was in constant trouble and the Cardinals missed a chance to bust it open by stranding nine runners the first four innings.

Trevor Rosenthal worked the ninth for his 27th save in 31 chances. Peter Bourjos made a leaping catch for the final out at the wall in center field with a man on to rob Russell Martin of extra bases.

NOTES: Attendance of 43,941 was the 28th sellout for the Cardinals including five of the first six games of a seven-game homestand. … Shelby Miller (7-7, 4.15) will try to beat the Pirates for the third straight start this season Thursday and will oppose Edinson Volquez (7-6, 3.88). Volquez is 3-0 his last three starts allowing two earned runs in 21 innings, but is 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA against the Cardinals. … Cole was placed on the 15-day DL with right lat soreness retroactive to July 5. … The Cardinals have won 10 of the last 12 at home against Pittsburgh.

Reds 4, Cubs 1

CINCINNATI (AP) – Alfredo Simon became the NL’s first 12-game winner and Billy Hamilton added to his sensational series with a tiebreaking triple Wednesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the trade-depleted Chicago Cubs.

The Reds won their fifth in a row – matching their season high – and moved a season-best seven games over .500. After winning the first four games of the series, they’ll try for their first five-game sweep since 1976 on Thursday.

Simon (12-3), left off the All-Star team, became the first Reds pitcher to win a dozen games before the break since Edinson Volquez also went 12-3 in the first half of 2008.

The reliever-turner-starter gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings, including Anthony Rizzo’s third homer in four games.

Phillies 4, Brewers 1

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley homered to support Roberto Hernandez’s solid start, and Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 4-1 on Wednesday night for their third straight win over the NL Central leaders.

Hernandez (4-8) needed just 84 pitches in eight innings to dispatch the aggressive Brewers, who have lost four straight and eight of nine. Hernandez allowed three hits, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.

Veterans Rollins and Utley homered off Kyle Lohse (9-4), who at one point retired 13 straight batters after Utley’s first-inning solo shot.

Mets 4, Braves 1

NEW YORK (AP) – David Wright ignited a tiebreaking rally in the seventh inning with a hustle double, Travis d’Arnaud gave Dillon Gee some cushion with a two-run drive later in the seventh and New York beat Atlanta 4-1 on Wednesday night for their first four-game winning streak in a year.

Gee (4-1) returned from two months on the disabled and pitched seven-plus dominant innings as the Mets won the first three of a four-game series against the Braves after being swept in Atlanta less than two weeks ago.

Rockies 6, Padres 3

DENVER (AP) – Troy Tulowitzki hit two of Colorado’s five home runs, and the Rockies beat San Diego 6-3 on Wednesday.

Drew Stubbs, Charlie Blackmon and Wilin Rosario also went deep for the Rockies, who won a home series for the first time in nearly two months.

Colorado last won a home series taking two of three from San Diego in May. The Rockies managed to split a four-game set with Atlanta in June but lost five other series at Coors Field. They were swept twice.

They erased that mark with back-to-back homers off reliever Joaquin Benoit (3-1).