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Royals edge Athletics to top ALC; Pirates and Rays hammer rivals Brewers tame Cubs; Twins floor Astros

KANSAS CITY, Missouri, Aug 12, (AP): Kansas City won its eighth straight game and took over the lead in the American League Central division by edging Oakland 3-2 on Monday, led by pitcher Yordano Ventura. The Royals, who have not made the playoffs since 1985, surged to the top of the division ahead of Detroit, which lost at Pittsburgh. Kansas City has not led its division this late in a season since 2003. Ventura set up the victory by pitching the first six innings before handing over to Kelvin Herrera (3-2) who pitched a perfect seventh to take the win. Alcides Escobar drove in a run in the second inning before delivering a two-out single off Sonny Gray (12-6) in the seventh, putting Kansas City in front. Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit a two-run homer after replacing an injured Manny Machado and helped the Orioles beat the Yankees 11-3.

After Davis put the Orioles ahead in the fifth inning, Nelson Cruz connected with a man on in the seventh and Jonathan Schoop added a three-run shot in the eighth to turn a tight game into a convincing win. Cruz now has 31 homers, tied for the major league lead with rookie Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Machado, a 2013 All-Star third baseman, sprained his right knee in the second inning. He dropped onto his back in the batter’s box and needed help getting off the field.

Pirates 11, Tigers 6
In Pittsburgh, Travis Snider hit two home runs and Starling Marte had a bases-loaded triple as the Pirates coasted to a win against the Tigers. The loss, coupled with Kansas City’s 3-2 win over Oakland, dropped the Tigers a half-game behind the now first-place Royals in the AL Central Division. Justin Verlander (10-11) left after one inning with right shoulder soreness. He gave up five runs — four earned — on four hits. He walked two and struck out three. Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke (4-3) was responsible for four runs, eight hits and four walks in five-plus innings. Martin hit his sixth home run of the year in the sixth inning, and Ike Davis followed with his eighth.
 
Rays 7, Rangers 0
In Arlington, Texas, Drew Smyly allowed three hits in his first win since the David Price trade, Matt Joyce had a two-run single and the Rays beat the Rangers. Smyly (7-10) struck out nine in a career-high 7 2-3 innings to beat the Rangers for the second time this season. Colby Lewis (8-9) couldn’t build on the momentum of his second career shutout, giving up five runs — two earned — in five innings.
 
Brewers 3, Cubs 1
In Chicago, Yovani Gallardo pitched seven sparkling innings and Khris Davis had a tiebreaking RBI double, leading the Brewers to a victory over the Cubs. Gallardo bounced back nicely from a sluggish outing against San Francisco, allowing one run and six hits while improving to 9-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 career starts against Chicago. Mark Reynolds connected for his 20th homer.
 
Dodgers 6, Braves 2
In Atlanta, Kevin Correia won in his debut with the Dodgers, outpitching All-Star Julio Teheran and leading Los Angeles over the slumping Braves. Los Angeles has won four of six to increase its NL West lead to five games over idle San Francisco. The Braves have dropped 10 of 12 and fallen four games behind NL East-leading Washington. Correia was tied for the major league lead in losses with a 5-13 record when he was traded from Minnesota to the Dodgers on Saturday. He excelled for Los Angeles, giving up one run and four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one. Teheran (10-9) allowed five runs and nine hits in 7 1-3 innings. Carl Crawford got three hits and drove in two runs for the Dodgers.
 
Marlins 6, Cardinals 5
In Miami, Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs and made a spectacular diving catch in right field to help the Marlins beat the Cardinals. Marlins starter Tom Koehler (8-9) allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. Steve Cishek escaped the ninth to record his 30th save in 33 chances. With two outs, Cishek allowed an RBI triple by Kolten Wong and an RBI single by Matt Holliday allowing the Cardinals to pull to 6-5. Cishek struck out Matt Adams to end the game. Jon Jay hit a two-run home run, Holliday had four hits, and Shelby Miller (8-9) allowed five runs in five innings for the Cardinals, who have lost three of four.
 
Mets 5, Phillies 3
In Philadelphia, slumping Anthony Recker hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer, Jonathon Niese pitched seven sharp innings and the Mets beat the Phillies. Darin Ruf hit a two-run shot for the last-place Phillies. Niese (6-8) gave up two runs on five hits to earn his first win since June 28. David Buchanan (6-6) allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings.
 
Twins 4, Astros 2
In Houston, Joe Mauer had two hits in his return from the disabled list, including a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning, to help the Twins to a win over the Astros. A pair of walks by Josh Fields (2-5) left runners at first and second with two outs in the ninth when Mauer’s groundball single to left field scored Jordan Schafer. Brian Dozier also scored on the play. Brian Duensing (3-2) got the last two outs of the eighth inning for the win. Chris Carter and Jose Altuve both had solo homers for Houston and Jake Marisnick had a career-high four hits. Tommy Milone allowed eight hits and two runs in his debut with the Twins after being traded from Oakland for Sam Fuld on July 31.
 
Mariners 11, Blue Jays 1
In Seattle, Felix Hernandez allowed one run in seven strong innings and Robinson Cano helped provide him with a jolt of run support as the Seattle Mariners romped to an 11-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night. Opening the most anticipated August series in Seattle since 2007, Hernandez (13-3) made his 16th straight start of at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or less. Hernandez needed just 96 pitches to get through seven and his only mistake was Jose Bautista’s solo home run in the fourth. Cano ignited a seven-run sixth inning with his 10th homer of the season for a 3-1 lead. That was just the start. Mike Zunino followed with an RBI triple — the second triple of his career — and an RBI double by Endy Chavez ended the night for Toronto starter Drew Hutchison (8-10).
 
Padres 4, Rockies 3
In San Diego, Yangervis Solarte hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning and the Padres beat the last-place Rockies for their ninth win in 12 games. Solarte’s third shot with the Padres, and ninth overall this season, came off Boone Logan (2-3) and was an inning after Colorado’s Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead. Nick Vincent (1-2) pitched two perfect innings for the win.

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