CHICAGO – The Pittsburgh Pirates showed the team with the most home runs in the National League they can hold their own in the power department — a fact greatly appreciated by Gerrit Cole.
Starling Marte hitting a tying home run, Pedro Alvarez had a go-ahead homer and the Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 Sunday to open a two-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s first wild-card berth.
Cole (17-8) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings and struck out nine, improving to 3-0 in four career starts against Los Angeles.
“I had pretty good command of my fastball,” Cole said. “They capitalized on a couple of mistakes, a couple of bad breaking balls that caught too much of the plate in some situations, but I was still able to make pitches and minimize damage.”
Manager Clint Hurdle was ecstatic about Cole’s outing.
“The fastball played for him all day long,” Hurdle said. “His fastball had life, it had finish, and he executed with it. For me, that was basically what got him through seven innings — grit, determination, and a major league fastball.
“At the end of the day, he had no walks with six three-ball counts, which is pretty impressive,” Hurdle added. “He put away nine guys with swing-and-miss stuff, and retired 10 guys on three pitches or less. So the pitch-ability is growing, the experience is growing, and he’s got another gear that he can go to late in the game.”
Cardinals 4, Cubs 3
In Chicago, St. Louis star catcher Yadier Molina suffered a sprained left thumb in the eighth inning, and the Cardinals ended the Cubs’ five-game winning streak.
Nationals 13, Marlins 3
In Washington, Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 in an encore to one of the best starts of his career, and Yunel Escobar had four hits and four RBIs.
Ichiro Suzuki was 0-for-4 for Miami.
Brewers 8, Reds 4
In Milwaukee, Adam Lind drove in three runs and the Brewers ended an eight-game losing streak, taking advantage of Cincinnati’s poor fielding.
Braves 2, Phillies 1
In Atlanta, Julio Teheran took a perfect game try into the seventh inning and A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single in the ninth.
Giants 5, Diamondbacks 1
In San Francisco, Buster Posey hit a three-run homer and Tim Hudson (8-8) allowed four hits in six scoreless innings, improving to 11-2 against Arizona.
Padres 10, Rockies 4
In Denver, Matt Kemp homered and doubled twice to back James Shields (13-6), who pitched two-hit ball into the seventh.
Yankees 11, Mets 2
In New York, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia and the Yankees took advantage of Matt Harvey’s early exit, beating the sloppy Mets to tighten the AL East race just in time for a critical trip to Toronto.
Mariners 9, Rangers 2
In Arlington, Texas, Felix Hernandez became the American League’s first 18-game winner, and Robinson Cano drove in four runs.
Astros 5, Athletics 1
In Houston, Colby Rasmus homered twice and George Springer added a two-run shot to back a solid start by Collin McHugh.
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3
In Toronto, the AL East-leading Blue Jays lost their grip in the eighth inning, and Boston broke ahead on a sacrifice fly by Jackie Bradley Jr.
Twins 8, Angels 1
In Minneapolis, rookie Tyler Duffey pitched seven shutout innings, and Eddie Rosario and Joe Mauer hit two-run homers.
Indians 6, White Sox 3
In Cleveland, Josh Tomlin pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings, and Lonnie Chisenhall homered and drove in three runs for the Indians.
Royals 10, Tigers 3
In Detroit, Kendrys Morales hit three home runs and a triple, setting a team record with 15 total bases.
Rays 7, Orioles 6
In St. Petersburg, Florida, pinch hitter Brandon Guyer led off the ninth inning with a tying homer and Kevin Kiermaier beat out a two-out single for the winning run.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5