St Louis’ Albert Pujols began a 4 for 4 night with a solo homer as the Cardinals went on to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Thursday to close the gap in the National League Central race.
St Louis pulled within four games of division-leading Milwaukee, who have won 13 of 15. The Cardinals are the only team to beat the Brewers during their hot streak.
Pujols entered with just five hits in 42 at-bats against the Brewers. He ended that slide with a drive in the first against Yovani Gallardo (13-8), tying him with teammate Lance Berkman for the NL lead with 28 homers.
Pujols added two singles against Gallardo, who lasted just five innings.
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter (8-8) shut out the Brewers after they scored twice in the first.
REDS 2, ROCKIES 1
In Cincinnati, Ohio, two runs in the first inning proved enough for Cincinnati in their win over Colorado.
Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto (8-5) — taken out of his previous start early because of an stomach upset — bounced back to pitch seven shutout innings. He took over the NL ERA lead, lowering his mark from 2.06 to 1.94.
He struck out a season-high nine, including Carlos Gonzalez with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.
Reds closer Francisco Cordero allowed a leadoff homer in the ninth, then earned his 22nd save in 27 chances.
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (9-9) pitched eight innings.
In other NL games, it was:
‧ Padres 3, Mets 2
‧ Cubs 4, Nationals 3
‧ D-backs 8, Astros 5, 10 inns
AP, NEW YORK
Robinson Cano hit a Grand Slam as the New York Yankees held on in a nervous finish to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 in the American League on Thursday.
Curtis Granderson made up for hitting into two double plays by getting a tying two-run homer in the sixth for the Yankees, and Cano then capitalized on an Angels error with two outs in the seventh inning, going long to give the hosts a four-run buffer.
New York closer Mariano Rivera gave up a three-run homer with the first pitch in the ninth, but he recovered to get the final two outs.
Angels reliever Fernando Rodney (2-4) gave up two walks in the seventh for the loss.
TIGERS 4, INDIANS 3
In Cleveland, Ohio, the Tigers avoided a sweep by Cleveland, eking out their AL Central Division lead to three games.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander (17-5) allowed three hits and struck out 10 in seven innings to earn career win No. 100.
Detroit ended a 13-game losing streak in Cleveland and kept their nose ahead in the AL Central race. The teams will play 10 more times this season, including a season-ending three-game series in Detroit.
In other AL games, it was:
‧ Rays 4, Royals 1
‧ Athletics 10, Blue Jays 3
‧ White Sox 6, Orioles 3