National Sports

Royals overtake Tigers…Brewers, Dodgers pad leads…Costly win for Birds

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(AP) — There’s a new leader in the American League Central, just over a week after the Detroit Tigers enjoyed a five-game edge over Kansas City.

The Royals moved a half-game ahead of Detroit with a 3-2 win against Oakland and some help from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Alcides Escobar snapped a 2-2 deadlock with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. Greg Holland closed out a combined three-hitter for his AL-leading 35th save.

The A’s saw their lead in the AL West trimmed to 3 ½ games over the Los Angeles Angels.

The Tigers had more to worry about than their 11-6 loss in Pittsburgh. Detroit starter Justin Verlander surrendered five runs in the first inning before leaving with a sore right shoulder. The Tigers say Verlander will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

Travis Snider hit two of the Pirates’ four homers to help them hand the Tigers their fifth loss in six games. Russell Martin and Ike Davis also went deep as the Bucs ended a two-game skid and stayed 2 ½ games behind the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers were 3-1 winners against the Cubs in Chicago as Yovani Gallardo gave up just a run and six hits in seven innings. Mark Reynolds homered in the second inning and Khris Davis doubled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh to help Milwaukee add a half-game to its division lead.

St. Louis is three games behind the Brewers. Giancarlo Stanton belted his National League-leading 30th and 31st homers while driving in three runs in Miami’s 6-5 win over the Redbirds. Christian Yelich was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored as the Marlins handed the Cardinals their third loss in four games.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have padded their lead in the National League West.

Kevin Correia was a winner in his first start with the Dodgers, allowing a run and four hits in six innings of a 6-2 victory in Atlanta. Carl Crawford supported Correia with three hits and two RBIs, including the tiebreaking single in the seventh.

The outcome gives the Dodgers a five-game lead over San Francisco and drops the Braves four games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

Baltimore crushed the New York Yankees 11-3 but lost Manny Machado in the process as the third baseman sprained his knee while swinging at a pitch in the third inning. Chris Davis took over at third and hit a go-ahead, two-run homer to put the Orioles ahead 4-3 in the fifth. Nelson Cruz also hit a two-run homer and Jonathan Schoop added a three-run shot as the AL East-leading Birds dropped the Yankees seven games off the division lead.

Seattle improved its playoff hopes while dropping Toronto six games off the AL East lead. Robinson Cano hit a solo homer before Mike Zunino and Brad Miller added RBI triples in a seven-run sixth that carried the Mariners past the Blue Jays 11-1. Felix Hernandez lowered his ERA to 1.95 and improved to 13-3 by limiting the Jays to a run and three hits while fanning eight in seven innings.

The Mariners’ second straight win puts them within one game of Detroit for the final AL wild-card berth.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— Tampa Bay clobbered Texas 7-0 as Rays newcomer Drew Smyly allowed three hits while striking out nine over 7 2/3 innings. Matt Joyce hit a two-run single and Ben Zobrist doubled home a run to help Smyly earn a win in his second start since being acquired from Detroit.

— Minnesota beat Houston 4-2 on Joe Mauer’s two-run single in the top of the ninth. Mauer was activated before the game after sitting out more than a month with a left oblique strain. Tommy Milone allowed two runs over six innings in his first start since the Twins acquired him from Oakland.

— Anthony Recker was in an 0-for-18 slump before smacking a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning of the Mets’ 5-3 comeback win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Jonathan Niese gave up five hits in seven innings to end a four-start losing streak and help the Mets beat the Phillies for the third time in four days.

— Yangervis Solarte socked a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh to lift San Diego past Colorado 4-3. Yonder Alonso also homered in the Padres’ ninth victory in 12 games.

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