Hammel wins again as Cubs down Pirates 7-2
ABS-CBN Sports on May 03, 2016 07:17 PM
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chicago's Jason Hammel continued his outstanding start to the season by steering the Cubs to a 7-2 win at Pittsburgh on Monday, opening a four-game gap between the teams at the top of the National League Central division.
Hammel improved to 4-0 this season as the Cubs kept their record of not losing consecutive games and improved to 18-6.
The Pirates are now two games ahead of third-placed St. Louis, which ended a four-game skid by beating Philadelphia, while NL East leader Washington retained its buffer at the top by shutting out reigning World Series champion Kansas City in an interleague clash.
Hammel entered the game with an earned run average against of 0.75 runs per nine innings, but giving up two runs over five innings raised that to a still enviable 1.24. He had not given up more than one run in any of his previous five starts.
Anthony Rizzo hit a run-scoring double and scored himself in the third inning as the Cubs went ahead 2-1, then doubled again during a four-run fifth that pushed the lead to 6-1.
Washington's Gio Gonzalez pitched six scoreless inning to guide the Nationals to a 2-0 win against Kansas City.
He has only allowed a sum of four earned runs over his first five outings this season.
Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy drove in first-inning runs and that was enough for Washington to extend its winning run to four games, staying 1-1/2 games clear in the NL East.
St. Louis' Adam Wainwright pitched six innings and hit a three-run home run — the first of five for St. Louis — as the Cardinals snapped a four-game skid and beat Philadelphia 10-3.
Wainwright, who has struggled since missing most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, has won two straight after starting the season 0-3.
The Cardinals overcame an early 3-0 deficit and avoided their first five-game losing run since 2013.
Texas' Nomar Mazara hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning to give the Rangers a 2-1 win at Toronto and their fifth win in six games.
Named the AL's top rookie in the month of April earlier in the day, Mazara broke a 1-1 tie with a shot to center.
In the bottom of the eighth, Mazara preserved the one-run lead by throwing out the runner at home plate to end the inning.
The Blue Jays have lost four straight home games.
Seattle's Robinson Cano had three hits and scored twice as the Mariners edged Oakland 4-3.
Kyle Seager hit a tiebreaking double in the sixth inning for the Mariners, who have won five straight at the Oakland Coliseum.
San Francisco rallied against Cincinnati's struggling bullpen, riding Brandon Crawford's three-run homer to a 9-6 victory over the Reds and former teammate Johnny Cueto.
The New York Mets made it nine wins in 10 games by beating Atlanta 4-1, set up by David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda all hitting home runs in the first inning.
Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson pitched seven strong innings and drove in the go-ahead run to lead the Brewers past the Los Angeles Angels 8-5.
San Diego's Matt Kemp hit a two-run double in the first inning and that proved enough to secure a 2-1 win against Colorado.
Minnesota ended the 17-game home winning streak of Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel by beating the Astros 6-2.