Molina, DeJong HRs carry Cardinals past struggling Cubs 9-8
CHICAGO (AP) — Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong homered on Craig Kimbrel’s first two pitches in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals handed the reeling Chicago Cubs their fifth straight loss with a wild 9-8 victory on Saturday.
Marcell Ozuna also connected as the NL Central-leading Cardinals (88-67) won for the fifth time in six games. Dexter Fowler had two hits and two RBIs, and Paul Goldschmidt also drove in two runs.
Chicago (82-73) used pinch-hit homers by Ian Happ and Tony Kemp and a solo drive by rookie Nico Hoerner to carry an 8-7 lead into the ninth. It looked as if it was on its way to stopping a costly slide that pushed it out of playoff position — the Cubs began the day two games back of Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.
But Kimbrel (0-4) was hit hard again in his first appearance since he gave up Matt Carpenter’s 10th-inning homer in the Cubs’ 5-4 loss Thursday night.
Molina jumped on Kimbrel’s first pitch for his ninth homer, touching off a rollicking celebration in the Cardinals’ dugout.
DeJong then belted an even deeper drive for his 28th homer, sending the party on the Cardinals’ half of the field to another level.
John Gant (11-1) got the last out of the eighth for the win, and Carlos Martínez finished for his 23rd save.
REDS 3, METS 2
CINCINNATI (AP) — Pinch-hitter Christian Colón’s two-out single off Seth Lugo broke an eighth-inning tie, lifting Cincinnati over the Mets and dealing New York a critical defeat in the NL wild card race.
New York (80-74) went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and dropped four games back of Milwaukee for the second wild card with eight games left. The Brewers played last-place Pittsburgh later Saturday.
Justin Wilson (4-2) took the loss.
Joel Kuhnel (1-0) got the final out of the eighth for his first major league win. Raisel Iglesias picked up his 34th save in 39 chances.
A day after hitting his 50th homer, Mets rookie Pete Alonso went 0 for 4 and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth when he struck out.
YANKEES 7, BLUE JAYS 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton launched his first homer since missing nearly three months to injury, James Paxton won his 10th straight start and New York beat Toronto.
New York manager Aaron Boone was ejected after another tangle with a rookie umpire, and the 101-win Yankees got promising news shortly before first pitch when an MRI of Gleyber Torres’ achy right hamstring came back negative.
The AL East champions entered with a major league-leading 294 homers.
Paxton (15-6) allowed an unearned run while pitching three-hit ball over six innings. The left-hander threw just 87 pitches.
Toronto ended a five-game winning streak, which matched its best of the season.
T.J. Zeuch (1-1) racked up six strikeouts in four innings. He allowed two runs and four hits.