Chicago Completes Sweep of Pittsburgh
Cubs post first series win since June 7-9
CHICAGO — After struggling prior to the All-Star break, the Chicago Cubs have started the second half clicking on all cylinders.
Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber hit home runs and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.
The NL Central leaders posted their first series win since taking all three from St. Louis on June 7-9.
The Cubs were 10-16 in the 26 games before last week’s break. They outscored Pirates 22-10 in the series and manager Joe Maddon credited the rest during the break as the major factor behind the turnaround.
“People don’t want to listen to that because it’s too simple,” Maddon said. “If you’re more rested, you tend to do what you do better. If you’re not, you tend to do not as good.”
Robel Garcia had a pair of doubles and Anthony Rizzo added two hits as Chicago improved to 32-16 at Wrigley Field.
Cubs starter Jose Quintana (7-7) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings to win his third straight start. The left-hander struck out four and walked two.
Quintana has allowed six runs in 19 innings for a 2.84 ERA during the winning streak. Before that, he had lost six straight decisions.
Bryan Reynolds got two hits and drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which has dropped five of seven.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Garcia, before Pittsburgh rallied for three in the third to make it 3-1. Reynolds drove in the first run with a single, Starling Marte followed with a sacrifice fly and Jung Ho Kang capped the rally with an RBI double.
The Cubs pulled within 3-2 in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Quintana after David Bote had been intentionally walked. Quintana was 1 for 34 for the season before his hit off Trevor Williams (3-3).
“Finally,” Quintana said. “To get the base hit was exciting.”
Victor Caratini had a tying sacrifice fly in the fifth and Heyward hit a two-run homer for a 5-3 lead.
Almora had a pinch-hit homer in the sixth and Schwarber followed with a drive to right on the next pitch. Williams was pulled after giving up a single to the next batter, Javier B’ez, and Rizzo later had a sacrifice fly.
Williams allowed a career-high tying eight runs on a career-high 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“Fastball execution probably wasn’t his friend,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “I don’t make excuses for people. It’s 13 days away (from his last appearance), and that can be problematic. In his case, a guy that is a touch-and-feel guy and pitches with command and pitches off the fastball, it affected him.”
Heyward has 15 homers, the most he’s hit since a career-high 27 in 2012. He is batting .383 (23 for 60) with five homers and 14 RBIs and 12 runs in the last 16 games.
“Right now, his confidence is soaring,” Maddon said. “He’s feeling so good about himself. He’s on the barrel more often. You don’t see the ball off the weaker part of his bat nearly as much as we have in the past.”
Pirates: RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder inflammation) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, striking out two in a scoreless inning. … OF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder inflammation) went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs for Indianapolis Saturday. … INF Erik Gonz’lez (left clavicle fracture) had his rehab stint suspended because of a left hamstring strain.
Cubs: C Willson Contreras didn’t start because of a sore right foot. … RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (left thoracic strain) tossed a scoreless inning on just nine pitches Saturday night in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa. There’s been no determination when Edwards might be ready to return.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (6-7, 4.15 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series at St. Louis on Monday night. RHP Miles Mikolas (5-9, 4.53) goes for the Cardinals.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-7, 3.49 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Cincinnati on Monday night as the homestand continues. RHP Luis Castillo (8-3, 2.29) pitches for the Reds.
Rockies 10, Reds 9
DENVER (AP) — Ryan McMahon singled, doubled, tripled and drove in three runs as the Colorado Rockies outslugged the Cincinnati Reds.
A day after the Reds romped 17-9, Colorado bounced back with a couple of big innings.
Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 2
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt homered, Adam Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Wainwright (6-7), who was scratched from Friday’s start due to back spasms, relied on a mixture of cutters, change-ups and curve balls. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven as he improved 4-0 in day starts this season.
Giants 8, Brewers 3
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyler Beede pitched effectively into the seventh inning, had two hits and drove in the go-ahead run as the San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers.
Brandon Belt homered for the Giants, who took two out of three in the series.
Belt’s solo homer with one out in the fifth, his 11th of the season, off Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin put the Giants in front 2-1.
Phillies 4, Nationals 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Maikel Franco homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Philadelphia Phillies a win over the Washington Nationals.
J.T. Realmuto also went deep for the Phillies, who avoided a three-game sweep.
Mets 6, Marlins 2
MIAMI (AP) — Robinson Cano homered for the second consecutive game to help lead the New York Mets to a win over the Miami Marlins.
Cano finished 4 for 5 for his first four-hit game since May 7 at San Diego came a day after he hit a tiebreaking go-ahead homer in the eighth in the Mets’ victory.
Braves 4, Padres 1
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and All-Star rookie Mike Soroka struck out a career-high nine to win his 10th straight decision for the Atlanta Braves, who beat the San Diego Padres for a three-game sweep.
The NL East-leading Braves have won seven of eight.
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka pitched six strong innings, Gio Urshela drove in two runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tanaka (6-5) allowed two runs, four hits and struck out five without issuing a walk.
Athletics 3, White Sox 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chad Pinder scored all the way from first base when White Sox shortstop Jose Rondon made a throwing error trying to start a double play in the ninth inning and the Oakland Athletics beat Chicago.
After acquiring pitcher Homer Bailey from Kansas City earlier in the day, the A’s completed a three-game sweep. They have won 10 of 12 to put themselves in solid playoff contention.
Tigers 12, Royals 8
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jeimer Candelario hit a bases-clearing double and Gordon Beckham added a two-run homer during a seven-run third inning, and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of Kansas City’s late pitching switch to beat the Royals.
Harold Castro had a pair of hits during the marathon fame, when the Tigers trotted 11 batters to the plate against fill-in starter Brian Flynn. The first six reached base safely, and Brandon Dixon and Niko Goodrum also drove in runs before reliever Jorge Lopez finally ended the inning.
Astros 12, Rangers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Justin Verlander followed a two-run first inning with five no-hit innings and Jose Altuve hit Houston’s franchise-record ninth grand slam of the season as the Astros beat the Texas Rangers.
Verlander (11-4) gave up four hits, all singles, and struck out seven.
Angels 6, Mariners 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Rookie Matt Thaiss hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a victory.
Mike Trout left the game before the third inning due to right calf tightness, but the Angels (48-46) kept rolling two days after their cathartic no-hit victory in their first home game since the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.