Lindor’s HR Leads Indians
CLEVELAND (AP) — With one swing, Francisco Lindor shook the Indians from their early September slumber.
The All-Star shortstop homered leading off the first again, Mike Clevinger struck out 10 and Cleveland moved closer to its third straight AL Central title with a 9-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
The Indians ended a three-game losing streak and reduced their magic number for clinching another division title to 11.
After a 5-1 loss Monday night, Lindor, who sets the tone for Cleveland with everything he does, talked about the team being flat and needing a spark.
He provided an early one with his sixth leadoff homer — one shy of the club record set by Grady Sizemore in 2008 — as the Indians jumped to a 3-0 lead on Danny Duffy (8-12), whose season is over because of a sore left shoulder.
“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a leadoff hitter,” said Lindor, who has 31 homers. “To get things going.”
Yandy Diaz hit his first major league homer and Jason Kipnis added two RBIs for Cleveland, which has the most commanding lead of any first-place team in the majors.
PIRATES 7, REDS 3
PITTSBURGH — Starling Marte hit a two-run homer, Gregory Polanco had a two-run double and the Pirates beat the Reds.
Joe Musgrove (6-8) took a shutout into the seventh inning for the Pirates, who improved to 12-4 against the Reds this season.
Scooter Gennett homered twice for Cincinnati.
Marte’s homer in the fourth scored Pablo Reyes, who reached on his first major league hit. Polanco drove in Marte and Adam Frazier with a double in the third. Frazier doubled and scored on Francisco Cervelli’s single in the first.
The top four batters in Pittsburgh’s lineup went a combined 8 for 17 and drove in five runs.
Musgrove (6-8) allowed two runs and struck out eight. He gave up five hits — four singles — over 6 1/3 innings.
RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 0
TORONTO — Tampa Bay’s Ryne Stanek became the first rookie pitcher in 75 years to start consecutive games — throwing one inning for the second straight day.
“It’s pretty much the same as two relief appearances in a row,” Stanek said. “I didn’t really notice anything different.”
Stanek combined with six relievers on a three-hitter in Tampa Bay’s 4-0 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night, which extended the Rays’ winning streak to four.
Tampa Bay has held Toronto to five hits or fewer in seven consecutive meetings, matching the longest streak in the majors since 1920. The Baltimore Orioles did it to the Washington Senators from Sept. 11, 1968, to April 18, 1969, according to STATS.
“We’re getting outstanding pitching performances,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It seems like just about every night we’re in a ballgame because of our pitching and defense.”
Tampa Bay is 9-2 against the Blue Jays this season. Toronto has lost seven of its past nine.
A night after throwing 16 pitches, Stanek allowed Devon Travis’ leadoff double and hit Kendrys Morales with a pitch with one out. Stanek escaped a 10-pitch first inning when Randal Grichuk struck out as Morales was caught stealing second.
PHILLIES 9, MARLINS 4
MIAMI — Carlos Santana homered to start a four-run first inning and the Phillies snapped a three-game losing streak.
Jake Arrieta (10-9) struck out a season-high 11 and earned his first win since July 31. He allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings and improved to 5-1 in eight career starts against the Marlins.
The Phillies, struggling to stay in playoff contention, began the night four games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. They have a chance to win a series for the first time in a month Wednesday.
J.T. Realmuto hit two solo homers off Arrieta, increasing his season total to 20.
RED SOX 5, BRAVES 1
ATLANTA — Steve Pearce had three hits and three RBIs, Rick Porcello allowed two hits in five innings, and the Red Sox beat the Braves for their second straight win in a matchup of division leaders.
Porcello (16-7) gave up one run, struck out five and walked one, improving to 10-3 on the road this year. He had been 0-2 in his previous three starts overall since an Aug. 14 win at Philadelphia.
Atlanta pitchers walked nine, including five by starter Sean Newcomb (11-8), who matched his season high. He allowed three runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings, failing to last five innings for the third time in five starts.
RANGERS 4, ANGELS 2
ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus each hit a solo homer in the fourth inning to put the Rangers ahead to stay.
Andrus hit the first pitch of the fourth against Andrew Heaney (8-9) to tie the game at 1. Two batters later, Beltre went deep for the ninth time this season and 471st time in his career. He has 3,147 career hits, the most among active players, after that homer and a single in the eighth.
Shohei Ohtani hit his 16th homer for the Angels, a leadoff shot in the sixth that chased Texas starter Mike Minor (11-7). It was Ohtani’s first major league homer off a left-handed pitcher.
ASTROS 5, TWINS 2
HOUSTON — Alex Bregman hit three doubles and Yuli Gurriel homered for the second game in a row, leading Justin Verlander and the Astros to their fourth straight win.
Verlander (14-9) yielded one run and three hits while fanning eight over seven innings.
Jorge Polanco homered off reliever Chris Devenski to begin the ninth. After Robbie Grossman walked, Roberto Osuna took over and gave up a single to Tyler Austin with one out. Gurriel then caught Max Kepler’s liner and stepped on first to complete the double play and give Osuna his 13th save.
The Astros got to Trevor May (3-1) immediately when George Springer hit a leadoff single and scored on a one-out double by Bregman. Tyler White hit an RBI single with two outs to score Bregman and a short mound visit came next.
On the second pitch after the visit, Gurriel sent a ball into the seats in left field for his 10th homer to extend the lead to 4-0.
Twins rookie Kohl Stewart, who was born and grew up in Houston, took over for the second inning and pitched well in front of a large group of friends and family sitting behind the visitor’s dugout. He allowed just three hits over five scoreless innings.
Verlander ran into some trouble in the second inning when Grossman singled before Miguel Sano and Kepler drew consecutive walks with one out to load the bases. But Verlander retired Ehire Adrianza before striking out Chris Gimenez to end the threat.
WASHINGTON — Yadier Molina hit a grand slam, Marcell Ozuna homered twice and the Cardinals beat the Nationals.
Molina provided a cushion for St. Louis via his sixth career slam, which made it 11-5 with two outs in the ninth.
The Cardinals, who occupy the second NL wild card spot, hit five homers overall as they stopped a three-game skid.
Right fielder Yairo Munoz robbed Ryan Zimmerman of a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, reaching over the fence and pulling it back into the field of play for a two-run double.
Tyson Ross (8-9) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Jordan Hicks got the final out for his sixth save in 11 chances.
Ozuna and Paul DeJong homered back-to-back leading off the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie, and one out later, Patrick Wisdom went deep to make it 7-4.
Making his second major league appearance, reliever Austen Williams (0-1) gave up all three homers. He allowed none in 68 innings this season in Double and Triple A.
The 4-hour, 10-minute game included 16 walks and 20 strikeouts.
Wilmer Difo homered and Bryce Harper had a double and three walks in five plate appearances for the Nationals, who fell one game below .500.