>>Martinez Leads Cardinals Past Pirates
All season, the St. Louis Cardinals have tried to minimize the innings load for Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha, saving their two young pitchers for the postseason.
During a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night, manager Mike Matheny said the 23-year-old Martinez was simply too good to take out early. In the eighth inning, he judged ''awkward swings'' from the Pirates.
Yadier Molina tied it with a sacrifice fly and rookie Stephen Piscotty singled in the go-ahead run on consecutive at-bats off Jeff Locke (6-7) in the fifth inning. Kolten Wong singled twice for his first multihit game of the month and Piscotty had three hits.
Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth for his 34th save in 36 chances. The Cardinals lead the Pirates by six games in the NL Central and are 6-5 in the season series with seven of the games decided by one run and five in the final at-bat.
Jason Heyward had two hits and two RBIs. St. Louis is 72-40 overall, at 32 over .500 it matches the season's high water mark, and 41-16 at home - both major league bests.
Pedro Alvarez homered on a drive estimated at 446 feet that put the Pirates up 3-2 in the fourth. Aramis Ramirez earned his 145th career RBI against St. Louis, most against the Cardinals among active players, and Gregory Polanco had three hits.
Martinez (12-4) began the game throwing more off-speed stuff than usual and gave up single runs in the first, third and fourth but kept it close for a breakthrough three-run fifth that began with consecutive walks to Wong and Jhonny Peralta. He matched his career high for innings, striking out eight with one walk, and allowed one runner in scoring position his last three innings.
>>Rizzo, Soler Lead Cubs Past Brewers
Whether they're playing the defending World Series champions or a last-place team, it doesn't seem to matter to the Chicago Cubs.
They just keep winning.
Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler each drove in two runs, Dan Haren picked up his first victory for the Cubs and Chicago won for the 11th time in 12 games, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Tuesday night.
The Brewers, last in the NL Central, announced earlier in the day that Doug Melvin is moving into an advisory role after 13 years as general manager.
The Cubs, meanwhile, continue to roll.
They moved 15 games over .500 at 63-48 and pulled within 2 1/2 of Pittsburgh for the first wild card. Most of all, there was no letdown against a struggling team after the Cubs swept four games from defending champion San Francisco.
Haren (8-7), acquired from Miami on July 31, pitched into the sixth.
Rizzo had two hits, including an RBI double, and drew a bases-loaded walk. He is 19 for 42 in his past 12 games.
Soler extended his hitting streak to 10, and Chicago took advantage of three errors along with some wild pitching on the way to yet another win.
Soler singled and scored in a three-run second that was aided by two errors. Rizzo added an RBI double in the third before Chicago chased Taylor Jungmann (6-4).
Chicago added two in the fourth to make it a five-run game after Milwaukee scored in the top half.
Tyler Thornburg walked Rizzo with the bases loaded and hit Soler in the elbow to force in another run, putting the Cubs up 6-1.
Haren, making his second start for Chicago, gave up three runs and five hits. He left to cheers with one out in the sixth after striking out Jonathan Lucroy following a two-run homer by Adam Lind.
Four relievers combined to shut out the Brewers the rest of the way. James Russell worked the ninth for his first save in three chances, with closer Hector Rondon getting the night off.
Jungmann lasted 2 2/3 innings in his shortest outing, allowing four runs - two earned - and five hits. He walked three and struck out three.
>>Rodon Blanks Hapless Angels
A pair of rookies came through for the Chicago White Sox.
Carlos Rodon threw seven scoreless innings, Trayce Thompson hit his first career home run in their 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Rodon (5-4) had struggled in his previous four starts, going 1-2 with a 9.33 ERA. He did considerably better Tuesday, striking out a career-high 11, allowing four hits and finishing seven innings for the first time for the White Sox, who have won the first two of the three-game series.
He set the tone in the first. Shane Victorino started the game with a walk and Kole Calhoun followed with a single. Rodon struck out Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, before getting Erick Aybar to fly out to left and end the inning.
Melky Cabrera gave Chicago the lead in the fourth with his two-run double against Hector Santiago. Thompson put the White Sox in front 3-0 with two outs in the fifth when his towering drive landed a couple rows into the deep left-center field stands.
Thompson, the son of former NBA player Mychal and brother of current Golden State Warriors star Klay, was playfully ignored in the Chicago dugout until making it almost to the end of the bench before getting mobbed by his teammates.
David Robertson picked up his 23rd save in 28 tries for Chicago by pitching a perfect ninth.
Los Angeles' last chance came in the eighth. With one out, Chicago's Zach Duke allowed a Victorino single before walking Calhoun. Jake Petricka replaced Duke, and Trout grounded to Jose Abreu but his throw to second was dropped by Alexei Ramirez to load the bases.
Petricka ended the inning when he fielded Pujols' tapper and flipped to home for the force and Tyler Flowers threw to first for the double play.
After that, Los Angeles couldn't make a winner of Santiago in his return to Chicago.
Santiago (7-6) was making his first start at U.S. Cellular Field since being acquired by Los Angeles from the White Sox in a December 2013 three-team deal. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs and four hits while striking out four.
That wasn't enough to prevent the Angels from losing their eighth straight on the road, their longest streak since dropping nine in July 1993.
Los Angeles also fell 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the AL West race, with the Astros playing late Tuesday at San Francisco.