National Sports

Tigers, Braves, Giants get much-needed wins

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(AP) — The Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants were in dire need of victories on Wednesday. All three teams succeeded.

The Tigers had dropped four in a row before Victor Martinez provided three hits and three RBIs in an 8-4 home win against Pittsburgh. Nick Castellanos added an RBI triple and a solo homer to help Detroit overcome an early 4-1 deficit. Alex Avila sparked the comeback with a solo homer in a three-run fifth that helped the Tigers stay a half-game behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.

The Braves won for just the third time in 14 games as Andrelton Simmons collected two RBIs before Justin Upton singled home the go-ahead run in a 3-2 triumph against the Dodgers in Atlanta. Winning pitcher Ervin Santana struck out nine while surrendering two runs and eight hits in six innings.

The Braves’ victory keeps them five games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals and cuts the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West to five games over the Giants.

San Francisco ended a five-game skid by erupting for seven runs in the seventh to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1. Angel Pagan supplied the tiebreaking, two-run single, and the Giants capped the rally with two runs on Adam Dunn’s error in right.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— Milwaukee’s lead in the NL Central remains 1 ½ games over Pittsburgh after Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back solo homers in the third inning of the Cubs’ 4-2 win over the Brewers in Chicago. Rizzo had two RBIs and Tsuyoshi Wada worked 6 2/3 innings to help the Cubs beat the Brewers for the second straight night.

— Jason Vargas tossed a three-hitter and the Royals stayed atop the AL Central by blanking Oakland 3-0. Omar Infante hit a two-run homer in the third inning to back Vargas, who retired his final 23 batters.

— Adam Jones launched a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to push the Orioles past the New York Yankees 5-3 in Baltimore. Jonathan Schoop tied it with a solo homer in the eighth before Jones smacked his 23rd of the season to send the AL East leaders a season-high 19 games over .500.

— The Orioles top their division by a major league-leading 7 1/2 games over Toronto after Hisashi Iwakuma worked 6 2/3 shutout innings to lead Seattle’s 2-0 win over the Blue Jays. Kendrys Morales provided the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning to help the Mariners pick up their fourth straight win and stay tied with Detroit for the final AL wild-card berth.

— The Angels are within 2 ½ games of first-place Oakland in the AL West after Howie Kendrick hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning of the Halos’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia in Anaheim. Jered Weaver gave up eight hits but just two runs in six innings for his 13th win.

— Jordan Zimmermann gave up an unearned run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings to pitch Washington past the New York Mets 3-2. Asrubal Cabrera hit a solo homer in the eighth to put the Nationals ahead 3-1 in the eighth inning of their 10th straight win at Citi Field.

— Justin Masterson scattered three hits in seven shutout innings as St. Louis topped the Marlins 5-2 in Miami to avoid a three-game sweep. Matt Adams put the Cardinals ahead to stay with a two-run single in the third inning.

— Mike Napoli smacked a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the fifth inning before the Boston Red Sox completed a 5-4 win over the Reds in Cincinnati. The Reds took a 3-2 lead on solo homers by Skip Schumaker and Mike Leake in the fourth inning before Leake served up Napoli’s 15th home run of the season.

— Zach Walters belted a walkoff, solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Cleveland a 3-2 win over Arizona in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Michael Brantley hit a two-run single to help the Indians pick up their third straight win before the Diamondbacks took the nightcap 1-0 on Tuffy Gosewisch’s RBI single in the 12th.

— Rymer Liriano hit a two-run blast for his first big league homer, and Abraham Almonte added a solo shot in San Diego’s 5-3 defeat of Colorado. Jedd Gyorko went 4-for-4 and scored the tiebreaking run on Yasmani Grandal’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

— Matt Joyce, Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Guyer each homered and had two RBIs as Tampa Bay crushed Texas 10-1. James Loney had three hits and two RBIs in support of David Archer, who struck out 12 and allowed four hits in seven innings.

— Kyle Gibson allowed a run and six hits in 7 2/3 innings of Minnesota’s 3-1 victory at Houston. Joe Mauer put the Twins ahead to stay with his first homer since May 3, a solo shot in the sixth, two innings before Kennys Vargas added a two-run single to make it 3-0.

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