BOSTON (AP) — Mookie Betts hit three home runs against James Paxton during the first four innings Friday night in the Boston Red Sox’s 10-5 victory over the New York Yankees, whose starting pitchers have stumbled this week in historic fashion.
Betts homered on Paxton’s eighth pitch in a three-run first that included J.D. Martinez’s two-run homer, went deep again leading off the third for a 4-0 lead and hit a two-run drive in the fourth for a 7-0 advantage.
Betts added an RBI double in the sixth off David Hale to give him five RBIs and grounded out in the eighth. With his fifth career three-homer game, Betts raised his season total to 18 homers.
Batters have had three-homer games on four straight days for the first time in big league history. Betts followed the New York Mets’ Robinson Canó, St. Louis’ Paul DeJong and Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz.
Andrew Cashner (10-5), coming off losses in his first two starts after Boston acquired him from Baltimore, allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Martinez had three RBIs for the Red Sox, who won the opener of the four-game series 19-3 and have pulled within nine games of the AL East-leading Yankees.
Paxton (5-6) became just the fourth pitcher in big league history to allow a leadoff home run in three straight starts, according to STATS, after Brad Radke (2004), Brandon Backe (2008) and Yovani Gallardo (2017).
DODGERS 4, NATIONALS 2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justin Turner hit a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth inning to lift Los Angeles over Washington in the opener of a three-game series.
After the Nationals had retired 22 straight batters, reliever Tony Sipp (1-2) walked Joc Pederson and then gave up a single to Alex Verdugo before exiting with two outs in the eighth. Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled earlier on Friday from Double-A, came in and immediately gave up the Turner blast to center field. Turner has 15 homers this season.
Joe Kelly (4-3) retired Anthony Rendon to end the seventh while Kenley Jansen walked home a run before striking out Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 25th save of the season.
Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez retired the final 20 batters he faced. Sánchez struck out six, while allowing one run on three hits.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed eight hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.
CARDINALS 5, ASTROS 3
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt extended his homer streak to a career-high five games with a three-run drive in the eighth inning, and surging St. Louis took over first place in the NL Central with a win over Houston.
Matt Wieters also connected as St. Louis won for the ninth time in 10 games. The Cardinals grabbed sole possession of the division lead for the first time since before play on May 7.
Michael Brantley homered for the AL West-leading Astros, who lost for just the second time in nine games. Yuli Gurriel had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Brantley’s bases-loaded walk gave Houston a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but St. Louis went ahead to stay in the bottom half. Dexter Fowler started the rally with a leadoff walk and Jose Martinez doubled before Goldschmidt hit his team-high 23rd homer off Ryan Pressly (2-2), barely clearing the outstretched glove of a leaping George Springer in center.
Andrew Miller (4-4) got one out for the win, and Carlos Martinez worked the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
METS 6, PIRATES 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Trade candidate Zack Wheeler showed off a live arm in his return from the injured list, Jeff McNeil hit the first of four Mets homers and New York beat slumping Pittsburgh.
Wheeler (7-6) struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings in his first start since July 7 due to right shoulder fatigue — an issue he called an impingement. With contending teams watching closely, the right-hander averaged 96.8 mph on his fastball and looked sharp until Adam Frazier clocked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Wheeler allowed three runs, six hits and no walks.
McNeil hit a three-run homer, and Todd Frazier, Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos added solo shots for the Mets. Alonso’s homer was his 34th.
Pirates rookie starter Dario Agrazal (2-1) got roughed up for the first time in his short big league career, and Pittsburgh dropped its sixth straight. The Pirates are 2-13 since the All-Star break.
BREWERS 3, CUBS 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ben Gamel hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied to beat Chicago and knock the Cubs out of first place.
Gio González didn’t allow a hit to the Cubs until the sixth, when Alberto Almora Jr. reached on an infield single and David Bote followed with his 10th home run.
Christian Yelich started Milwaukee’s comeback in the seventh when he greeted Brandon Kintzler (2-1) with an RBI single.
Adrian Hauser (4-4) pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings. Josh Hader worked around Kris Bryant’s one-out single in the ninth, striking out two for his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Chicago, which had held at least a share of the NL Central lead since after play on July 4, dropped one game behind St. Louis. Milwaukee closed within a game of the Cubs.
GIANTS 2, PADRES 1, 11 INNINGS
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Pablo Sandoval homered with two outs in the 11th inning and San Francisco beat San Diego for its 18th victory in 22 games.
Sandoval’s drive on a 1-2 pitch from Logan Allen (2-3) just cleared the wall in left field. It was his 13th.
Sandoval entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, when he hit a leadoff double, and stayed in at third base.
The Giants have won four straight games against San Diego at Petco Park in July, part of a surprising surge that has helped them jump into the NL wild-card race.
The Padres have lost eight straight home games. They were coming off a 3-6 trip.
Mark Melancon (4-2) struck out two in a perfect 10th for the win. All-Star closer Will Smith pitched the 11th for his 25th save, getting Eric Hosmer to hit into a game-ending double play.
ROCKIES 12, REDS 2
CINCINNATI (AP) — Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer and a three-run double for a career-high six RBIs, leading Colorado over Cincinnati and giving the Rockies consecutive wins for the first time since June 28 and 29.
Murphy homered in the first off All-Star Luis Castillo (9-4) and doubled in the ninth against Jared Hughes, raising his career average against the Reds to .350.
David Dahl hit a two-run homer, and Charlie Blackmon had three hits and two RBIs for the Rockies, who had lost 16 of 19 before winning 8-7 at Washington on Thursday.
German Márquez (6-9) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked none, his second straight sharp outing after allowing a career-worst 11 runs against San Francisco.
Castillo lost for the first time in four starts since June 29.
BRAVES 9, PHILLIES 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. had two hits and three RBIs, Brian McCann hit a solo homer and Atlanta cruised past Philadelphia.
Mike Soroka gave up one run and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings but was removed with the bases loaded and a 5-1 lead. Sean Newcomb (4-1) earned the win by retiring J.T. Realmuto on a soft grounder to end the inning.
The NL East-leading Braves had lost six of eight before their first win in Philadelphia in six games, dating to last season.
The Phillies fell 6 1/2 games behind Atlanta, but is in the mix for a wild card with the trade deadline coming up next week.
Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta (8-8) allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits in five innings.
TWINS 6, WHITE SOX 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Nelson Cruz homered for the seventh time in his last five games, and the slugging Minnesota Twins became the fastest team to reach 200 homers in major league history during a win over Chicago.
Max Kepler hit a three-run drive in the second inning for the landmark homer in Minnesota’s 103rd game of the season. The previous mark was 122 games by the Texas Rangers in 2005.
The AL Central-leading Twins hit five homers in the series opener to become the first team in major league history with nine five-homer games in a season.
Minnesota right-hander Michael Pineda (7-5) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He has a 2.87 ERA in his last eight starts.
Adam Engel homered for the slumping White Sox, who have dropped four straight and 12 of 15.
Chicago starter Dylan Cease (1-3) permitted five runs and seven hits in five innings in his third straight loss since winning his major league debut July 3.
INDIANS 8, ROYALS 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jose Ramirez homered for the second consecutive game, a three-run shot that sent rookie Zach Plesac and Cleveland past Kansas City.
Francisco Lindor had three hits, including an RBI triple, as the Indians stayed two games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central. Cleveland has won three straight and nine of 11, improving to 16-4 in July.
Ramirez’s drive in the sixth inning made it 5-1. The switch-hitting slugger launched a tiebreaking homer in the 14th inning of Cleveland’s 5-4 win over the Royals on Thursday night. He has seven home runs and 21 RBIs this month, and the Indians are 30-3 when Ramirez drives in a run.
Plesac (5-3) gave up just an unearned run and six hits in seven strong innings. He made a great defensive play in the sixth when he went into a headlong dive to snare a foul popup near the Kansas City dugout.
Jakob Junis (6-9) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings after coming off the paternity list.
RAYS 3, BLUE JAYS 1
TORONTO (AP) — Ryan Yarbrough won his fourth straight decision, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-run single and Tampa Bay beat Toronto.
After opener Diego Castillo worked a 1-2-3 first, Yarbrough (9-3) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of relief. The left-hander walked one and struck out four.
Chaz Roe went 1 2/3 innings and Colin Poche finished for his first major league save.
The Rays, who had lost seven of nine, won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak from July 13-15. Tampa Bay is 6-1 against Toronto this season.
The Blue Jays, held to one hit by Cleveland starter Shane Bieber on Wednesday, managed four against four Rays pitchers.
Making his fifth big league appearance, Toronto right-hander Jacob Waguespack (1-1) permitted three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.
MARLINS 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2
MIAMI (AP) — Harold Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to left Miami past Arizona.
Ramirez’s drive to center off reliever Yoshihisa Hirano was deep enough to score Neil Walker, capping the two-run rally that started off closer Greg Holland (1-2).
The Marlins’ comeback kept Arizona starter Zack Greinke from earning another victory against Miami. Greinke allowed a first-inning run before retiring 11 consecutive batters. The right-hander went six innings and scattered four hits, struck out five and walked one. He is 7-0 in his career against the Marlins.
Jose Quijada (1-3) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
ORIOLES 9, ANGELS 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Asher Wojciechowski pitched seven strong innings and Renato Núñez and Trey Mancini homered to lead Baltimore over Los Angeles.
Núñez hit a three-run homer, his 25th of the season, in a six-run second for the Orioles, who had a rare 7-0 lead. Mancini hit a two-run homer, his 24th, in the ninth to pad the final margin.
The 30-year-old Wojciechowski (2-3) allowed three hits and two runs while striking out six. He retired the first 11 batters he faced.
Wojciechowski was acquired from Cleveland in a trade but was at Triple-A Columbus all season before the deal.
The Orioles earned at least a split of the four-game series by winning the first two.
Nick Tropeano (0-1) allowed seven earned runs and six hits in five innings on 103 pitches.
MARINERS 3, TIGERS 2
SEATTLE (AP) — Mallex Smith hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Seattle a win over Detroit.
Smith drove in Kyle Seager on a full-count pitch from reliever Jose Cisnero (0-1) to complete a three-run rally that started with Tom Murphy’s tying, two-run homer in the seventh.
Roenis Elias (3-2) pitched a 1-2-3 inning to get the win with help from shortstop J.P. Crawford, who made a diving stab and spinning, no-look throw for the third out of the ninth.
The victory gave the Mariners their first three-game winning streak since June 19-21.
Detroit has lost four straight and 10 of 11.
RANGERS 5, ATHLETICS 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Lance Lynn struck out eight in six innings and Willie Calhoun homered in his return to the majors, helping Texas beat Oakland.
Lynn (13-6) allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in his first win since July 11. Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits and drove in two runs, and Calhoun finished with two hits and two RBIs.
The Rangers won for the third time in four games after losing eight straight.
The A’s dropped their third in a row and fell a half-game back of Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card. Marcus Semien had two hits and scored twice.
A’s starter Daniel Mengden (5-2) retired his first nine batters before Shin-Soo Choo drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, starting a decisive three-run inning that included consecutive two-out RBI doubles for Nomar Mazara and Calhoun.
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