ST. LOUIS (AP) Pittsburgh emphatically ended its long losing sequence at St. Louis by scoring seven runs in the first inning en route to a 10-5 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday that trimmed the gap between the National League Central’s top teams to six games.
By contrast, the gap in the NL East continues to grow, with Washington again losing at San Francisco to slip further behind the New York Mets.
In the American League, the Los Angeles Angels rallied in the ninth inning to end a long losing skid against Kansas City, while Toronto extended its run of victories to 11 by downing Oakland.
Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez homered in the big first inning and had three hits as the Pirates stopped a run of eight consecutive losses at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (9-7) was punished in the first inning and removed after just two outs; the shortest of his 119 career starts.
Washington scored a run off the first pitch of the game but did not score thereafter in a 3-1 loss at San Francisco.
Yunel Escobar hit a homer before most fans had taken their seats, but the Giants replied quickly, as Matt Duffy and Buster Posey both hit scoring singles in the bottom of the first.
San Francisco starter Ryan Vogelsong (8-8) allowed just one run and struck out eight to record his first win in more than seven weeks.
Los Angeles’ C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun each drove in a pair of runs in the ninth inning, rallying the Angels past Kansas City 7-6 and to their first win over the Royals in eight attempts.
Kansas City had built a 5-1 advantage heading to the eighth, but All-Star reliever Wade Davis coughed up two runs in his first appearance in a week after taking time off to rest a stiff back.
Greg Holland (3-1) entered in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single, a walk and threw a wild pitch. Cron followed with a double to tie the game, and after Johnny Giavotella singled, Calhoun added his go-ahead double.
Toronto beat Oakland 4-2 thanks chiefly to a strong performance from pitcher Mark Buehrle.
The AL East leaders, who also won 11 in a row in June, became the first team to post a pair of winning streaks of at least 11 since Cleveland in 1954.
Toronto finished off a three-game sweep to stay half a game ahead of the New York Yankees atop the AL East. Those two teams play each other in a three-game series starting Friday.
Buehrle (13-5) has won eight of his past nine decisions. He allowed two runs in seven-plus innings.
Ryan Goins hit a three-run homer in the second inning.
Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton had a career-high four hits, including a solo homer, to help the Reds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-3.
Hamilton went 4 for 4 with four runs scored and two RBIs for the Reds, who piled up 15 hits while never trailing against a team coming off consecutive shutout victories.
Dodgers starter Matt Latos (4-9) gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings against his former team.
The Yankees ended a five-game losing skid with an 8–6 win against Cleveland, with Brian McCann hitting a three-run homer and Stephen Drew also going long.
The Chicago Cubs extended their winning streak to seven by defeating Milwaukee 9-2, with Kyle Schwarber hitting two homers and drivingin four runs.
Texas’ Mitch Moreland drove in four runs on a career-high four hits, including a two-run homer, to help the Rangers avoid a sweep at Minnesota and rally past the Twins 6-5.
New York’s Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson each homered and drove in three runs, powering the Mets to a 12-3 rout of Colorado, completing a four-game sweep.