BOSTON RED SOX STARTER Chris Sale pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out the side during the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla. See the Red Sox-Rays game story on B1.

BOSTON RED SOX STARTER Chris Sale pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out the side during the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla. See the Red Sox-Rays game story on B1.


Russell Martin homered and matched a season high with three hits, Josh Donaldson broke out of his slump with a go-ahead single and Toronto beat Houston, 7-4 on Thursday.

Francisco Liriano (5-4) pitched six solid innings and Roberto Osuna converted his 21st consecutive save opportunity as the Blue Jays, who began the night last in the AL East, won their third straight. Houston, which has the best record in the majors at 58-28, had won four in a row and eight of 10.

Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran homered for the Astros, handed a rare defeat on the road. The AL West leaders fell to 31-10 away from home as All-Star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (7-2) lost for the first time since April 26.

Toronto trailed 2-1 before batting around in a five-run fifth. Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP, ended an 0-for-15 slide with a two-run single that put the Blue Jays in front.

Dodgers 5, D-Backs 4

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chris Taylor singled home the winning run to cap a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, and NL Westleading Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of second place Arizona.

Taylor’s bases-loaded single off T.J. McFarland with nobody out eluded the reach of left fielder Ray Fuentes, who was playing shallow to try to cut off the winning run.

Josh Fields (4-0) got the win after a run-scoring balk in the top of the ninth.

Fernando Rodney (3-3) issued three straight walks, including one to Logan Forsythe with the bases loaded that left the Dodgers trailing 4-2. Corey Seager tied it with a two-run single.

Jake Lamb homered twice for Arizona, including a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth. Diamondbacks All-Star Robbie Ray tied his career high with 13 strikeouts while allowing one run and five hits in six innings.

Dodgers starter Rich Hill left after seven innings with the game tied at 1. He gave up two hits and struck out nine without a walk.

Braves 5, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON (AP) – Freddie Freeman drove in two runs and Mike Foltynewicz quieted Washington’s bats as Atlanta won following an unusually dry rain delay that lasted more than three hours.

Kurt Suzuki’s solo homer in the sixth inning off Gio Gonzalez (7-4) broke a 2-all tie. Freeman’s second RBI double of the game and 1,000th career hit extended the lead during a two-run seventh.

Despite negligible rain, the series opener was delayed for 3 hours, 5 minutes. But the grounds crew didn’t put the tarp on the infield until 74 minutes after the scheduled start time, and only a very brief, light shower hit Nationals Park before the first pitch was thrown at 10:10 p.m.

As a reward for fans who stuck around, Washington gave away free soda, ice cream and water.

The team’s scheduled game Wednesday night against the Mets was postponed amid a downpour following a delay of 1 hour, 55 minutes.

After taking a no-hit bid into the ninth inning against Oakland in his previous outing and throwing a career-high 119 pitches, Foltynewicz (7-5) got an extra day of rest. He allowed two runs and eight hits, including Brian Goodwin’s homer, over six innings to win his third consecutive start.

The 25-year-old right-hander has won four straight decisions, and seven of eight since opening the season 0-4.

Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his 19th save, getting the final out at 1:20 a.m. Friday.

Gonzalez lost his third straight start. He permitted three runs in six innings before an announced crowd of 22,274 – only hundreds remained when he threw the first pitch.

Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor strained an oblique and is headed to the 10-day disabled list.

A’s 7, Mariners 4

SEATTLE (AP) – Khris Davis hit a three-run homer, Paul Blackburn pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning for his first major league win, and Oakland beat slumping Seattle.

Davis’ 24th homer keyed a four-run fifth inning that put the Athletics in front 7-0. Bruce Maxwell hit a solo homer, his first, to chase starter Sam Gaviglio (3-4).

The only run off Blackburn (1-0) was Mitch Haniger’s homer in the fifth.

Seattle has lost four straight and nine of 11 since reaching a season-best two games above .500 on June 23.

The Mariners pulled to 7-4 in the ninth on a three-run homer by Danny Valencia.

Brewers 11, Cubs 2

CHICAGO (AP) – Ryan Braun homered to ignite a seven-run third inning and Milwaukee beat Chicago for its fourth straight victory.

The Brewers opened a 4 1/2 game lead over the second-place Cubs in the NL Central and are guaranteed to hold the top spot at the All-Star break. This was a makeup of a May 20 rain out.

Willson Contreras homered for the Cubs. Kyle Schwarber went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his return following a two-week stint in the minor leagues.

Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (10-4) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings for the win.

Cubs starter Mike Montgomery (1-6) gave up seven runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Tigers 6, Giants 2

DETROIT (AP) – Anibal Sanchez pitched six strong innings, and Dixon Machado hit his first career home run to lift Detroit over San Francisco.

Sanchez (1-0) earned his first victory since Aug. 23, allowing two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Machado’s first home run came in the 146th at-bat of his career. The 25-year-old infielder hit a two-run shot in the second that put the Tigers up 4-0.

Chris Stratton (0-2) allowed five runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings in his first career start. He took the mound after the Giants scratched right-hander Johnny Cueto before the game because of an inner ear infection.

Indians 11, Padres 2


Encarnacion homered and matched a career high with four hits, All-Star Jose Ramirez hit a home run and had three RBIs, and Cleveland, playing its third straight game without manager Terry Francona, defeated San Diego.

Francona remained hospitalized at the Cleveland Clinic, where he has been undergoing tests to resolve the causes of him becoming light-headed over the past month. The 58- year-old was hospitalized twice last month and doctors admitted him Tuesday, about one week after he began wearing a heart monitor.

Bench coach Brad Mills filled in again for Francona.

Josh Tomlin (5-9) allowed two runs in seven-plus innings.

Encarnacion was 4 for 5, including a leadoff homer in the fifth and an RBI double in the sixth. He also singled in the third and eighth.

Dinelson Lamet (3-3) was removed after Encarnacion’s home run. The rookie right-hander allowed six runs – five earned – in four-plus innings.

Pirates 6, Phillies 3

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Gregory Polanco had four hits with a home run and two RBIs, and Josh Bell homered, doubled and drove in three runs to lead Pittsburgh over Philadelphia.

Andrew McCutchen added three hits with two doubles for the Pirates, who have won three straight.

Aaron Altherr had two hits and two RBIs for the Phillies.

Chad Kuhl (3-6) allowed three runs – two earned – and six hits in a career-high seven innings.

Juan Nicasio pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.

Bell made up for his third-inning defensive gaffe with a two-run homer in the fourth that gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead. He then broke a 3-all tie in the eighth with a double to right field off Joaquin Benoit (1-3) that scored the go-ahead run.

Reds 6, Rockies 3

DENVER (AP) – Sal Romano tossed five innings to earn his first major league win, and Cincinnati beat Colorado.

Romano (1-1), called up before the game to make his second career start, allowed six hits and allowed two runs to help the Reds split the four-game series.

Adam Duvall hit his 20th home run and drove in two runs and Eugenio Suarez had three hits for Cincinnati.

Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood (6-10) allowed seven hits and walked four in six innings, but limited the damage with some timely double plays. The Reds scored in the first on Billy Hamilton’s leadoff triple and Joey Votto’s single, and Scooter Gennett scored runs in the third and fifth to give Cincinnati a 3-1 lead.

Cardinals 4, Marlins 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Luke Voit homered and drove in three runs and St. Louis beat Miami.

Voit, who also doubled, and third baseman Jedd Gyorko each had two hits. The Cardinals’ eight hits backed another good outing from Michael Wacha (6-3), who allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two.

Marcell Ozuna had three hits and three RBIs for the Marlins. Dee Gordon had two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases.

Miami starter Tom Koehler (1-4) allowed three runs and four hits over five innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, but locked down his 17th save in 20 chances.

Twins 6, Orioles 4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Eduardo Escobar’s two-run triple highlighted a six-run third inning as Minnesota beat Baltimore.

Twins starter Jose Berrios (8-2) gave up four runs in six innings, and Brandon Kintzler got his 23rd save. Minnesota defeated Baltimore for the fifth straight time dating to last season.

Escobar is hitting .371 since June 4 and .431 in his last 13 home games.

Mark Trumbo hit an early two-run homer for the Orioles.

Miguel Sano had an RBI single against Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-8), and Max Kepler followed with a two-run single to put the Twins ahead 3-2.

Baltimore (40-45) lost its fourth straight and dropped to a season-worst five games below .500.

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