>>Cubs, Pirates Split Double-Header
Pedro Florimon scored on Starling Marte's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, and the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday to inch closer to first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Tied 4-4, Florimon entered as a pinch runner after Pedro Alvarez worked a leadoff walk against Justin Grimm (3-5). Florimon stole second and sprinted to third when the throw from catcher Jesus Montero rolled into center field.
Marte, playing for the first time since injuring his shoulder last Thursday, hit a sharp liner to left. Florimon flew Superman-style across home plate to easily beat Austin Jackson's throw as the Pirates momentarily moved five games ahead of the Cubs for the top NL wild-card spot and within two of the Cardinals.
Tony Watson (4-1) pitched a scoreless eighth. Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 46th save, tying the club record Mike Williams set in 2002.
Travis Snider drove in two runs for the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen had two hits, and Neil Walker provided an RBI double as Pittsburgh improved to 32-15 in one-run games, including 21-5 at PNC Park.
Montero had two hits for the Cubs, who took advantage of two wild pitches from Joakim Soria to rally from a 4-1 deficit.
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole gave up four runs, three earned, in 6 1-3 innings in his return after the Pirates skipped his last turn in hopes of giving their 25-year-old ace a breather before the stretch run. Cole struck out eight without issuing a walk and settled down after surrendering an unearned run in the first. He retired 11 straight at one point before the Cubs took advantage of a couple breaks to get back in it in the seventh.
The mistakes bailed out Chicago starter Jason Hammel, who didn't make it out of the fourth for the fourth time since July 8. He allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings. Snider hit a two-run single in the first, and Walker added a two-run double in the fourth that sent Hammel off in favor of reliever Trevor Cahill.
In game two of the day-night double header, Jon Lester limited the Pirates to five hits in a 2-1 win that earned Chicago a needed split if it wants to have any shot at catching the Pirates for the top spot in the NL wild-card chase.
Lester (10-10) walked one and struck out nine while picking up his 12th career complete game. David Ross and Javier Baez had two hits each for the Cubs.
JA Happ (9-8) had his five-game winning streak end. Happ pitched in and out of trouble, allowing two runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. Aramis Ramirez had two hits but Pittsburgh's rejiggered lineup mustered little.
The Pirates' best chance came in the seventh. Ramirez led off with a single and moved to third on single by Francisco Cervelli. Morse worked the count to 3-1 before hitting a sharp grounder to Chicago shortstop Addison Russell, who turned a double play. Lester then hit Sean Rodriguez to put the tying run on first. With the crowd chanting his name, Lester struck out pinch-hitter Jung Ho Kang with catcher David Ross pumping his fist in celebration.
Lester retired the final seven batters he faced, needing only six pitches to navigate the heart of Pittsburgh's order in the ninth.
Chicago took the lead in the top of the first on a run-scoring single by Anthony Rizzo. Dexter Fowler made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the fifth. The Cubs had a chance to break it open, loading the bases before Happ struck out Starlin Castro to avoid further damage. He exited with runners in scoring position and two outs in the sixth. Arquimedes Caminero came on to get out of the jam, but Lester already had all the support he needed.
Jake Arrieta goes for his major league-leading 20th win on Wednesday. Arrieta is 8-0 with a 0.46 ERA in his last eight starts and is 13-1 with a 1.00 ERA since June 21.
Burnett (8-5, 3.14 ERA) makes his second start since returning from the disabled list with a strained right elbow. The 38-year-old, in the final season of his career, pitched five innings in a no decision against Milwaukee last Thursday.
>>Cardinals Get By Brewers in 13 Innings
Jason Heyward hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Heyward had two doubles to finish with three or more extra-base hits for the first time since Sept. 26, 2013, with Atlanta. The right fielder is batting .478 (11 for 23) with five RBIs in his last six games.
Carlos Martinez matched a season high by going eight innings. He struck out nine and gave up one earned run and four hits, as the team improved to 16-4 in his last 20 starts.
Kevin Siegrist (7-1) pitched the ninth and Trevor Rosenthal the 10th for his 44th save.
Milwaukee's Ariel Pena made the second start of his career and allowed one earned run and four hits in five-plus innings.
Pena allowed a leadoff double to Heyward in the sixth and he scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta, as St. Louis tied the score 1-1.
Khris Davis' solo homer to deep center field gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the fifth and it came after Martinez retired 10 straight.
In the sixth, Martinez got out of a bases-loaded jam when Lind hit into an inning-ending double play.
Matt Carpenter led off the 10th and reached on an error on by first baseman Adam Lind. With one out, Heyward connected off Tyler Thornburg (0-2) for his 12th homer.
St. Louis has won consecutive games following a 2-8 skid and increased its lead in the NL Central to three games over second-place Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee lost its fourth straight game and has just 10 victories in its last 36 home games against St. Louis.
Jaime Garcia (8-5) gets the ball tonight in Milwaukee, he is 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA since Aug. 1.
The Brewers will turn to right-hander Wily Peralta (5-8) who is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA against St. Louis this season.
>>Sox Crushed By A's
Josh Reddick homered and drove in four runs during a 10-run fourth inning to power the Oakland Athletics to a 17-6 rout of the Chicago White Sox.
Reddick had a two-run homer and a two-run single in the big inning. The 17 runs were the most by the A's since they scored 18 on Sept. 11, 2013, against the Minnesota Twins.
Billy Butler had three hits and three runs batted in, and Eric Sogard and Jake Smolinski each had a pair of RBIs as the Athletics snapped a six-game losing streak against Chicago.
Aaron Brooks (2-3) allowed six runs on 10 hits in six-plus innings for the win. Brooks had been 0-3 with a 14.14 ERA in his last five games in the majors with an opponents' batting average of .439 before Tuesday.
Melky Cabrera had a homer and three RBIs and Alexei Ramirez had a solo homer for the White Sox.
Jeff Samardzija (9-13) was roughed up for 10 runs and 11 hits in three-plus innings. The right-hander has dropped eight of nine starts since the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.
Oakland took a 6-2 edge into the fourth inning. Samardzija faced four batters in the inning and failed to record an out. Marcus Semien led off with a single and Reddick followed with a two-run shot to make it 8-2. Mark Canha started a new rally with a single and scored on a double by Butler for a 9-2 margin.
That was it for Samardzija, but the A's were far from finished. Daniel Webb walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. After Sogard popped out in foul territory for the first out, Smolinski followed with a high-bouncing grounder to third base. Mike Olt bobbled it for an error, allowing Smolinski to reach and then picked up another error when he threw wide of first base. Butler scored on the grounder and the throwing error allowed Max Muncy to score to make it 11-2.
Sam Fuld followed with a run-scoring. Semien walked and Reddick added a two-run single to make it 14-2. Canha then chased Webb with an RBI single.
The 10th and final run of the inning scored on a fielder's choice by Muncy. Oakland sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning.
Position players Leury Garcia and Ramirez each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Chicago.
Samardzija, who was the subject of multiple trade rumors earlier this summer, is 1-8 9.24 ERA since the trading deadline.
RHP Cody Martin (2-4, 6.57 ERA) will be activated before Wednesday's game to take the place of Jesse Chavez. This will be Martin's second start in the majors this season.
Erik Johnson (1-0, 3.27 ERA) gets another chance to showcase his talents with an eye toward 2016. This will be Johnson's third start of the month after spending much of the season in Triple-A.