>>Cubs Get By Giants
Addison Russell hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Thursday night.
The Cubs spoiled a shaky Jeff Samardzija's return to Wrigley Field and started September on a winning note after going 22-6 to match the 1932 team for the best August in franchise history.
The major league leaders also moved a season-high 39 games over .500 and a jaw-dropping 15 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis in the NL Central - their largest lead in the standings since the 1907 team finished 17 games ahead of Pittsburgh, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Russell's bloop single off Cory Gearrin gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Dexter Fowler had two singles and scored two runs.
Kris Bryant added an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, matching a career high. And the Cubs rallied behind a dominant bullpen and another big hit by Russell.
The 22-year-old Russell's 88 RBIs are tops among National League shortstops. He is 8 for 18 and has driven in 23 runs with the bases loaded. On top of that, he is playing a Gold Glove-level defense.
His go-ahead hit wiped out a 4-3 deficit and capped a rally that began when Hunter Strickland (3-2) gave up a leadoff single to Fowler and walked Bryant after two close pitches were called balls.
Will Smith walked Ben Zobrist with one out to load the bases before retiring Jason Heyward on a pop fly. But Russell then drove in Fowler and Bryant with a bloop single to left.
Carl Edwards Jr. worked the ninth for his first career save with Aroldis Chapman getting the night off after pitching in the previous three games.
The Cubs send LHP Jon Lester (14-4, 2.70 ERA), unbeaten in his past six starts, to the mound while Albert Suarez (3-2, 4.35) makes his eighth start for San Francisco.
>>Twins Power Past White Sox
Byron Buxton homered in his return to the majors, and Trevor Plouffe continued his resurgence with a two-run shot as the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 8-5 and ended a 13-game losing streak Thursday night.
Minnesota got to Chicago starter Jose Quintana, who entered the day leading the American League with a 2.77 ERA. Quintana (11-10) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings and saw his ERA rise to 3.05.
Ervin Santana (7-10) escaped trouble to win for the fourth time in five decisions. He gave up 11 hits and two walks, but allowed just two runs as the Twins snapped their losing streak, one off the franchise record for a season.
Brandon Kintzler recorded his 13th save in 14 chances.
Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.17 ERA) will start the second game of the four-game series for Minnesota on Friday against LHP Carlos Rodon (5-8, 3.91).
Rodon has won his last three decisions and owns a 1.47 ERA in his past five starts.