Pinch-hitter Russell Martin singled home the decisive run in the 14th inning to give the MLB-leading Pittsburgh Pirates a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, their ninth consecutive victory. The surprising Pirates, who have not had a winning season since 1992, extended their longest winning streak since 2004, when they took 10 in a row. Pittsburgh reached the midpoint of their season with the best record in Major League Baseball at 51-30.
In other games, the Atlanta Braves defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 for a three-game sweep in a matchup between National League division leaders, while the Baltimore Orioles beat the skidding New York Yankees 4-2 in the American League.
The Yankees have now lost five straight — matching their longest losing streak of the year — and 13 of 18.
The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, topped the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 to improve to an American League-best 50-34.
Gaby Sanchez led off the 14th for the Pirates with an infield single. With one out, he stole second for his first steal in more than a year. After a walk, Martin hit a soft liner to center off Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) and Sanchez ran around third and slid home ahead of the throw by Carlos Gomez.
Tony Watson (2-1) struck out four in three hitless innings as six Pirates relievers held Milwaukee scoreless over the final 11 innings.
Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann homered for the National League East-leading Braves, who improved to an MLB-best 28-11 at home.
Trevor Cahill (3-10) allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks lost for the fifth time in six games.
Chris Davis set a Baltimore Orioles record by hitting his 31st home run before the All-Star break.
Manny Machado and Nate McLouth also homered for the Orioles.
Boston won for the fifth time in six games. Shane Victorino’s hard grounder eluded first baseman Josh Thole for an error as pinch-runner Jonathan Diaz raced home with the winning run against Toronto.
Jose Bautista had tied it in the ninth against Koji Uehara (1-0) with a solo homer.
Elsewhere, Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish struck out eight in 6 2-3 scoreless innings for his first victory in eight starts as the Texas Rangers beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2.
Darvish (8-3) won for the first time since May 16, ending his longest professional winless drought — in his two years with the Rangers or seven in Japan before that. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA in those seven games, when Texas scored only 12 runs while he was on the mound.
Yasiel Puig capped his sensational first month in Major League Baseball with his first four-hit game as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1.
Puig finished last month with 44 hits, surpassing the 42 by Pittsburgh’s Bob Elliott in September 1939 for the second-most in a player’s first full month in MLB. Joe DiMaggio had 48 in May 1936.
Puig got his first MLB triple in the fifth inning and scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s double for a 4-0 lead.
The San Francisco Giants got a two-run homer from Hunter Pence to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 and end their longest losing streak in three years.
Madison Bumgarner (8-5) struck out five and walked three, improving to 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five starts. The Giants had lost six straight.
The Los Angeles Angels beat the Houston Astros 3-1 to extend their winning streak to six games.