St. Louis sweeps Nationals, closes in on division title

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Shelby Miller won his 15th game, and Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit for St. Louis, which wrapped up a three-game sweep of Washington and moved another step closer to the NL Central title with a 4-1 victory Wednesday.

Jordan Zimmermann (19-9) missed his only shot at 20 wins, allowing four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha's bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning.

Matt Adams hit his eighth home run since replacing injured Allen Craig and doubled for the Cardinals (94-65), who are a season-high 29 games above .500.

Miller (15-9) walked two of the first three hitters to set up Bryce Harper's RBI single. Miller allowed a run in six-plus innings.

Rookie Trevor Rosenthal saved all three games.

Zimmermann had won his previous four appearances and had been coming off a two-hit shutout of Miami. But he is 0-3 with a 8.27 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis, and lost Game 2 of the NL division series last fall.

METS 1, REDS 0

CINCINNATI (AP) — Daisuke Matsuzaka scattered four hits in 7 2-3 innings to win his third consecutive start, outdueling Cincinnati's Mat Latos.

Eric Young Jr. drove in the only run for the Mets, who won two of three in the series to further dampen Cincinnati's hopes of hosting the NL wild-card playoff game on Tuesday.

Matsuzaka (3-3) allowed two walks and hit a batter. He struck out six and evened his record after three losses and a no-decision in his first four starts after joining the Mets in August.

He left the game with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano came on to walk Shin-Soo Choo before getting Joey Votto to fly out to center for the fourth time in four at-bats.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

The shutout loss was Cincinnati's 11th of the season, after only four last year.

The Mets (73-85) earned their 10th shutout, three fewer than last season, and New York finished its road schedule with a winning record (41-40), wrapping up a 5-1 trip.

CUBS 4, PIRATES 2

CHICAGO (AP) — Darnell McDonald hit a three-run homer to lead Chicago to the win that really hurt Pittsburgh's hopes of winning the NL Central.

With three games remaining in the regular season for each team, the Pirates trail division-leading St. Louis by three games.

The Pirates, who already have clinched a playoff spot, hold a one-game lead over Cincinnati for the first wild-card slot. Pittsburgh and the Reds finish up with a three-game set in Cincinnati this weekend.

McDonald had three hits, including his homer in the sixth inning that put the Cubs ahead 4-1.

Jake Arrieta (4-2) allowed one run and four hits for the Cubs. Kevin Gregg allowed an unearned run in the ninth for his 33rd save.

Francisco Liriano (16-8) allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

BREWERS 4, BRAVES 0

ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Lohse pitched a two-hitter and Milwaukee overcame Carlos Gomez's ejection in the first inning.

NL East champion Atlanta was shut out for the second time in three nights and has been blanked 17 times, second-most in the league.

After losing three of four, Atlanta has fallen three games behind St. Louis for the NL's best winning percentage.

Lohse (11-10) struck out five and threw just 22 of 89 pitches for balls.

Gomez, made it 1-0 in the first with his 23rd homer, but was ejected without touching home plate during a benches-clearing argument.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and reserve catcher Gerald Laird were also ejected.

Paul Maholm (10-11) gave up eight hits — including Gomez's homer — and struck out seven in seven innings.

Lohse, facing Atlanta for the first time this season, began the night 3-1 with a 4.97 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves.

MARLINS 3, PHILLIES 2

MIAMI (AP) — Adeiny Hechavarria drove in three runs, including a go-ahead run in the eighth inning, for Miami.

Hechavarria hit a two-run triple in the second before driving in the run that made it 3-2 on a fielder's choice.

Justin Ruggiano walked and Placido Polanco singled for his third hit in the eighth off Ethan Martin (2-5) before Hechavarria hit a grounder to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, whose throw went wide of catcher Carlos Ruiz allowing Ruggiano to slide in safely.

Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 35 chances. It was Cishek's 28th consecutive save setting the team record previously held by Todd Jones in 2005.

Chad Qualls (5-2) got the final out in the eighth to earn the victory.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels pitched six innings and allowed two runs. He struck out six as he reached 200 strikeouts (202) in a season for the third time in his career and the second consecutive season.

The 2008 World Series MVP finished his season with an 8-14 record and 3.60 ERA.

PADRES 12, DIAMONDBACKS 2

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ian Kennedy's solid pitching and offensive production throughout the lineup led San Diego.

Kennedy (7-10) struck out seven and allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings while facing his ex-team for the second time since being acquired by the Padres on July 31. He had a no-decision in their previous meeting.

The Padres hit three homers, four batters had at least two RBIs and four batters finished with multiple hits.

Jedd Gyorko continued his solid season, as his 21st home run placed him one ahead of the Atlanta Braves' Evan Gattis for the major league lead among rookies. Chase Headley had three RBIs, with Gyorko and Chris Denorfia getting two each.

Arizona starter Randall Delgado (5-7) allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings.

The Padres' Tommy Medica homered in the fourth to tie the score 2-2. It was Medica's third homer since being elevated from Double-A on Sept. 10.

Chris Robinson's three-run homer in the eighth was the first hit of his career, coming on his sixth major league at-bat.

Rene Rivera, Headley and Denorfia all had three hits for the Padres.

GIANTS 6, DODGERS 4

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Zito won in what likely was his final hurrah for San Francisco and Pablo Sandoval backed him with a two-run homer.

Tony Abreu hit a bases-loaded triple to stake Zito to a quick 3-0 lead in the second, then added an RBI double in the sixth as last year's World Series champions put themselves in position for a rare home series victory if they can win Thursday night's rubber game with the NL West champion Dodgers.

Zito (5-11) outpitched Ricky Nolasco (13-11), whose late-September struggles have the Dodgers a bit concerned with the playoffs looming. The right-hander is 0-2 over his last three outings since getting victories in four consecutive starts and seven straight decisions.

Zito, making his first start since Sept. 2, snapped a 13-start winless stretch and eight-game losing streak — including his previous four starts — since beating Oakland on May 30.

Zito allowed four hits and one earned run in five innings, with a strikeout and no walks.

Sergio Romo finished for his 37th save.

___=

INTERLEAGUE

RED SOX 15, ROCKIES 5

DENVER (AP) — Todd Helton homered, doubled and drove in three runs in his final game at Coors Field, but Boston used Will Middlebrooks' two homers and career-high seven RBIs for the win.

Helton also had a sacrifice fly in his Colorado farewell. The first baseman is retiring at the end of his 17th season with the Rockies.

Middlebrooks hit his third career grand slam and a three-run homer. The Red Sox, who clinched the AL East title last week, moved two games ahead of Oakland for the best record in the league and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

David Ortiz hit a two-run double to reach 100 RBIs this season. Jacoby Ellsbury didn't take long to energize the Red Sox lineup as he returned after missing 16 games with a fractured right foot — he singled, walked and scored twice before being replaced in the fourth.

Jake Peavy (12-5) earned his first win since Aug. 31, allowing five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Jhoulys Chacin (14-10) gave up seven runs and nine hits in four innings, tying his shortest outing of the season.