CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo hit a grand slam, Willson Contreras launched two long solo homers and the Chicago Cubs kept pace in the NL wild-card race Friday with a 17-8 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Rookie Nico Hoerner hit a two-run shot for his first major league homer and had four RBI for the Cubs.

Contreras, Hoerner and Nicholas Castellanos homered in the first with the wind blowing out as Chicago scored five times – and then kept on rolling – after Pittsburgh jumped on Jon Lester for a 4-0 lead.

Hoerner elevated a low pitch to the center-field batter’s eye in his first plate appearance at Wrigley Field. He drove in two more runs with a single in Chicago’s seven-run fifth.

BRAVES 5, NATIONALS 3: Mike Soroka allowed one hit over six innings, Ozzie Albies had three hits, including a home run, and Atlanta won at Washington.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was lifted for precautionary reasons in the fourth inning with right elbow soreness, according to the team.

DODGERS 9, METS 2: Noah Syndergaard again wobbled with Wilson Ramos as his catcher while Clayton Kershaw was right in the pocket as Los Angeles won at New York.

Kershaw (14-5) stopped a rare three-start skid and improved to 10-0 in regular-season play against the Mets. Rookies Gavin Lux and Edwin Rios homered as the NL West champion Dodgers won their ninth straight at Citi Field dating to 2016.


ORIOLES 6, TIGERS 2: In the first meeting in 50 years of major league teams both 50 or more games under .500, DJ Stewart and Trey Mancini homered to lead Baltimore at Detroit.

This was just the fourth time teams 50 or more games under .500 met, according to STATS, the first since Montreal played at San Diego on Aug. 29, 1969. The others were between Kansas City and Washington on Oct. 7, 1886, and between St. Louis and Louisville on Sept. 13, 1886, STATS said.


INDIANS: Cleveland brought up highly touted reliever James Karinchak.

YANKEES: Manager Aaron Boone said he’s “optimistic” both Edwin Encarnacion and Gary Sanchez will be able to return before the end of the season, one day after they were injured in separate games of a doubleheader.

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