>>Grichuk's Blast Sends Cards To Victory
Rookie Randal Grichuk knew that in homer-friendly Great American Ball Park, all it takes is one decent swing to end a game.
Matt Carpenter tied it with a solo homer in the eighth, and Grichuk connected in the 13th inning, rallying the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
Grichuk was moved up to second in the Cardinals' struggling batting order. He doubled home a run in the sixth inning and hit his 15th homer in the 13th off Dylan Axelrod (0-1), Cincinnati's eighth pitcher.
He knew the ballpark's reputation for yielding homers that would be outs in most other places.
Seth Maness (4-1) gave up a pair of walks in two innings, completing an impressive night by the bullpen. Cardinals relievers blanked the Reds over the final eight innings.
Matheny changed the batting order - Grichuk went from batting eighth on Tuesday to second - to try to spark his struggling offense, but the Cardinals didn't get much going until late in the game.
Left-hander David Holmberg allowed two runs, including Grichuk's RBI double off the top of the wall in center that cut it to 3-2 in the sixth.
Carpenter tied it with a homer in the eighth off J.J. Hoover, only the third that the reliever has allowed this season. It was Carpenter's fifth homer in his last six games.
The Reds strung together walks and infield hits while scoring three times off Carlos Martinez.
They loaded the bases in the third with a walk, an infield single and a fielding error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Brayan Pena's opposite-field double landed just inside the left-field line and made it 2-0.
The Reds loaded the bases again in the fourth with a pair of walks - one to Holmberg - and Brandon Phillips' single just out of the reach of second baseman Kolten Wong. Todd Frazier's soft groundout got in another run.
>>Sox Walk Off On Rays
Avisail Garcia got the Chicago White Sox started - and finished off the Tampa Bay Rays, too.
Garcia hit a three-run homer in Chicago's five-run first inning and had a bases-loaded walk in the 10th to give the White Sox a 6-5 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Garcia drew the winning walk off closer Brad Boxberger (5-6) to end Chicago's three-game losing streak.
In the 10th, Adam Eaton singled and stole second base and advanced to third when catcher Curt Casali's throw struck shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in the right side of the face, knocking him to the ground, and later from the game. Cabrera was cleared of a concussion following the game.
Boxberger then intentionally walked Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera to load the bases with one out before walking Garcia. Boxberger didn't agree with manager Kevin Cash's strategy.
Chicago closer David Robertson (5-3) had four strikeouts in two hitless innings.
After falling behind 5-0 in the first, the Rays tied it in the eighth inning, scoring their fifth two-out run of the game. Brandon Guyer had an RBI double off reliever Zach Duke.
Cabrera, who had four hits, got the Rays to 5-4 in the fifth with an RBI double. Evan Longoria homered two batters earlier off starter Carlos Rodon, who was pulled after working 4 2-3 innings and for being what manager Robin Ventura termed "erratic".
Before the 10th inning walks gave the White Sox the win, Robertson held the Rays in check after struggling on Monday when took the loss in the series opener. Wednesday's outing was much different.
>>McCutchen, Polanco Lead Bucs Past Cubs
The Pittsburgh Pirates looked for Gregory Polanco to give them a spark when they moved him to the top of the batting order last month after leadoff hitter Josh Harrison tore a ligament in his thumb.
The 23-year-old outfielder has delivered.
Polanco and Andrew McCutchen homered and the Pirates beat Chicago 7-5 on Wednesday night, ending the Cubs' season-best six-game winning streak.
Polanco has hit .282 (28 for 99) with 13 walks in 25 games since Harrison went on the disabled list July 6. It has raised his season batting average to .245.
Polanco led off the bottom of the first inning with his fifth home run to open the scoring. It came off Dan Haren, who was making his Cubs' debut. Polanco then hit an RBI single to break a 4-4 tie in a decisive two-run sixth inning.
McCutchen hit a solo homer, his 16th, in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 6-4.
Francisco Cervelli and Aramis Ramirez each had two hits as the Pirates won for the 12th time in their last 15 home games at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh leads the NL wild-card race by a 3 1/2 games over the San Francisco Giants
The Cubs had tied it at 4 in the top of the sixth when rookie Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run home run, his fifth, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo added a solo blast, his 21st, to chase starter Jeff Locke.
Schwarber also doubled and Rizzo extended his hitting streak to seven games. The Cubs dropped to four games behind the Pirates in the wild card standings and host the Giants in a four-game series beginning Thursday night.
The Pirates added an insurance run in the eighth when Cervelli tripled and scored on Sean Rodriguez's single.
The Cubs got within two runs in the ninth on Addison Russell's run-scoring ground out, but Pirates closer Mark Melancon notched his 34th save in 35 tries by striking out Dexter Fowler with a runner on second for the final out.
Antonio Bastardo (3-1) retired the only batter he faced for the win, getting Chris Coghlan to ground out with the bases loaded to end the sixth.
Travis Wood (5-4) gave up three runs while retiring only one of four batters.
Both starters struggled, as Pirates left-hander Locke surrendered four runs in 5 2/3 innings and Haren allowed four runs --- three earned --- in five innings in his debut with his new team after being acquired from the Miami Marlins in a trade last Friday.
Home runs continued to plague Haren. He gave up two more after allowing 21 in his 21 starts with the Marlins. He is winless in his last four starts.
Locke has a 5.48 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break after posting a 1.59 mark in his final six outings of the first half. He had allowed only one home run in his previous 56 innings before Schwarber and Rizzo took him deep.
Haren's first inning with the Cubs was rough, as Polanco led off with his homer and Pedro Alvarez made it 2-0.
Seattle 5 Final/11
LA Angels 4
Baltimore 7 Final/10
NY Yankees 1
LA Dodgers 4
San Francisco 6
NY Mets 8
San Diego 5