Buccos Lose a 3-Run Lead to Tigers, 8-4

DETROIT – Vance Worley’s impressive stretch since the All-Star break came to an abrupt end.

Worley allowed a pair of home runs, and the Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Detroit Tigers 8-4 on Wednesday night, wasting a 4-1 lead in the process. The Pirates remain 1 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Worley allowed five runs – three earned – and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

“He went out there and battled tonight. Wasn’t a sharp night for him,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Still, I think of the three runs they scored in the fifth, they wouldn’t have scored them if we would have handled the ball better.”

Victor Martinez had three hits, and Nick Castellanos homered and tripled to lead the Tigers, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Detroit is suddenly facing adversity amid mounting injuries. The Tigers had to send Buck Farmer to the mound to make his major league debut, and he allowed four runs in five innings.

Blaine Hardy (2-1) followed with two scoreless innings of relief, lowering his ERA to 2.05. He’s been a rare bright spot in a bullpen that’s been unreliable.

“He’s done an excellent job, really,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s not strictly a lefty-lefty guy. He’s got the ability to get right-handed hitters out, which gives me a lot of flexibility in the middle innings.”

Castellanos put Detroit ahead 5-4 with a solo homer off Worley (5-2) in the sixth. Martinez added a two-run single in the seventh.

The game was tied at 1 in the fourth when Pittsburgh’s Jordy Mercer hit an RBI triple and Travis Snider followed with a two-run homer. The Tigers tied it with three runs in the fifth.

Alex Avila led off with a homer to make it 4-2, and after a single by Eugenio Suarez, Ezequiel Carrera hit a grounder to second.

Jayson Nix tried to make a tough throw to second to get the lead runner, but his throw was poor, and the error helped Detroit to a big inning. Miguel Cabrera eventually hit a sacrifice fly, and Martinez tied it with a two-out RBI single.

Castellanos hit his ninth homer of the year with one out in the sixth.

“I think the pitches that hurt were the home runs,” Worley said. “Couple of guys who I got behind – had to throw good pitches.”

Worley had been 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA since the All-Star break.

OUTFIELD PROBLEMS: Pittsburgh center fielder Starling Marte made a diving attempt on Castellanos’ hit in the second, and the ball got past him for a triple. Right fielder Gregory Polanco couldn’t handle Torii Hunter’s double in the fourth, and Polanco’s long run to right-center in the seventh was for naught when he was unable to make the catch on Carrera’s drive, which went for a triple.

FOR THE BIRDS: Worley and Cabrera both seemed distracted by two birds that settled in between the mound and the plate while Cabrera was batting in the first.

Cabrera stepped out and waved his bat at them, then Worley rolled a ball to the plate, trying to shoo them away.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Pittsburgh was once again without 2B Neil Walker, who has been limited to only three games this month. Walker has been bothered by a bad back.

Cubs 4, Brewers 2

CHICAGO (AP) – Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back home runs as the Chicago Cubs roughed up Kyle Lohse and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Starlin Castro, Rizzo and Baez, the nucleus of Theo Epstein’s rebuilding effort, drove in all four runs against the NL-leading Brewers. Castro and Chris Coghlan contributed three hits each.

Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1) was coasting until he was chased in the seventh, when he allowed consecutive home runs to Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado. Wada allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Braves 3, Dodgers 2

ATLANTA (AP) – Ervin Santana won his sixth straight start at Turner Field, Justin Upton drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Atlanta Braves snapped a two-game skid with a victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup after missing six games with a sprained left ankle and had two RBIs for the Braves, who had lost 11 of 13.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6) left the game with an apparent right leg injury after allowing six hits and three runs with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.

Santana (12-6) improved to 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last six starts, giving up eight hits, two runs and two walks with nine strikeouts in six innings.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 2

MIAMI (AP) – Justin Masterson pitched seven scoreless innings in his best outing since joining the St. Louis Cardinals, and they averted a series sweep by beating the Miami Marlins.

Masterson, acquired in a trade with Cleveland on July 30, allowed three hits – all singles – and no walks and threw only 91 pitches before departing for a pinch hitter.

After recording only six outs in his previous start, he lowered his ERA to 6.00 in three outings with the Cardinals, and 5.14 overall this year.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander improved to 2-1 with St. Louis and 5-6 overall.