CHICAGO — Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong homered on Craig Kimbrel’s first two pitches in the ninth inning Saturday, and the St. Louis Cardinals handed the reeling Chicago Cubs their fifth straight loss with a wild 9-8 victory.

Marcell Ozuna also connected as the NL Central-leading Cardinals (88-67) won for the fifth time in six games. Dexter Fowler had two hits and two RBI, and Paul Goldschmidt also drove in two runs.

Chicago (82-73) used pinch-hit homers by Ian Happ and Tony Kemp, and a solo drive by rookie Nico Hoerner to carry an 8-7 lead into the ninth. It looked as if it was on its way to stopping a costly slide that pushed it out of playoff position – the Cubs began the day two games back of Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.

But Kimbrel (0-4) was hit hard again in his first appearance since giving up Matt Carpenter’s 10th-inning homer in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss Thursday night.

Molina jumped on Kimbrel’s first pitch for his ninth homer, touching off a rollicking celebration in the Cardinals’ dugout. Kimbrel looked stunned as the ball soared into the bleachers in left-center. DeJong then belted an even deeper drive for his 28th homer.

REDS 3, METS 2: Pinch-hitter Christian Colon’s two-out single off Seth Lugo broke an eighth-inning tie, lifting Cincinnati at home and dealing New York a critical defeat in the NL wild-card race.

New York (80-74) went 0 of 6 with runners in scoring position.

With the score 2-2, Justin Wilson (4-2) walked Jose Iglesias with one out in the eighth and Jose Peraza blooped a single to right. Seth Lugo relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Curt Casali, and Colon grounded a curveball up the middle.

BRAVES 8, GIANTS 1: Max Fried strengthened his case for a spot in the postseason rotation by throwing 51/3 scoreless innings, Francisco Cervilli and Adam Duvall hit two-run homers and Atlanta rolled at home.

At 96-60, the Braves will finish with their most wins since 2013. San Francisco dropped to 71-81, ensuring Bruce Bochy will not have a winning record in his 25th and final season as a major league manager, the last 13 with the Giants.

BREWERS 10, PIRATES 1: Rookies Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham hit two-run homers and Milwaukee won at home to increase its advantage for the second NL wild-card spot.

NATIONALS 10, MARLINS 4: Brian Dozier hit a go-ahead RBI single during a six-run 10th inning as Washington won at Miami.


RAYS 5, RED SOX 4: Nate Lowe hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning, and Tampa Bay won at St. Petersburg, Florida, to move one game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild card.

Tampa Bay won its third straight game, all in 11 innings.

A day after the defending World Series champion Red Sox were mathematically eliminated, Mitch Moreland put Boston ahead 4-3 with a two-out homer in the 11th off Diego Castillo (5-8).

Travis d’Arnaud doubled off Josh Smith (0-3) in the bottom half, and Lowe sent an opposite-field drive down the left-field line.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers also homered for the Red Sox.

Boston’s J.D. Martinez 0 for 5 with four strikeouts as a designated hitter after missing three games with left groin tightness.

D’Arnaud and Joey Wendle had run-scoring singles as the Rays took a 2-0 lead in the third, and Willy Adames put the Rays ahead 3-1 with a long homer off Josh Taylor in the seventh.

Devers hit a two-run homer off Nick Anderson that tied it 3-3 in the eighth.

Rays starter Yonny Chirinos, reinstated from the 10-day injured list after being sidelined since Aug. 5 by right middle finger inflammation, entered in the fourth and allowed Bogaerts’ leadoff homer.

Bogaerts has a career-high 32 homers and 110 RBI. He got his 51st double during the first.

Tyler Glasnow made his third start for the Rays after missing four months with a strained right forearm. He struck out seven in three scoreless innings.

YANKEES 7, BLUE JAYS 2: Giancarlo Stanton launched his first homer since missing nearly three months to injury, James Paxton won his 10th straight start and New York won at home.

New York manager Aaron Boone was ejected after another tangle with a rookie umpire, and the 101-win Yankees got promising news shortly before the first pitch when an MRI of Gleyber Torres’ achy right hamstring came back negative.

Two years after leading the majors with 59 homers for Miami, Stanton hit just his second of the season leading off the sixth against reliever Brock Stewart. He also had an RBI double in the fourth. Stanton has only played 12 games this year due to biceps, shoulder, calf and knee injuries.

WHITE SOX 5, TIGERS 3: Tim Anderson homered in a three-run fifth inning, and Chicago won at Detroit.

Anderson went 1 for 4, lowering his American League-leading average to .335, but the one hit was a no-doubter home run to left field.

ROYALS 12, TWINS 5: Twins closer Taylor Rogers got tagged during a seven-run ninth inning at Minneapolis and Minnesota missed a chance to add to its AL Central lead.

ANGELS 8, ASTROS 4: Houston remained just shy of its third straight AL West title, wasting a chance to clinch at home when Wade Miley was hit hard in a loss that ended a six-game winning streak.


PHILLIES 9, INDIANS 4: Bryce Harper connected for a three-run homer and Philadelphia won at Cleveland to avoid sliding any deeper in the NL wild-card standings.


PADRES: Andy Green was fired as manager, about 12 hours after one of the worst losses this season seemed to sum up a second-half collapse.

General Manager A.J. Preller said Green, in his fourth season, was fired because the team regressed in the second half.

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