Cubs' slump continues while Pirates, Giants surge
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 10, 2016 03:08 PM
Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen drives in two runs with a double off Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Adam Warren in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Chicago Cubs aren't going to panic. Not over their suddenly struggling starting staff, and not over their dwindling division lead, either.
Josh Bell's grand slam in his second major-league at bat was one of four homers by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 12-6 win over Chicago on Saturday night.
The Pirates have won nine of 10 over a stretch coinciding with the Cubs losing nine of 10, meaning Chicago's lead in the National League Central is down to 6 1/2 games.
"I feel like we're fortunate to be (up 6 1/2 games) right now, actually," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't believe it's a negative; I think it's a positive."
Jordy Mercer followed Bell's slam with a home run of his own off of Adam Warren (3-2), and Andrew McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez homered earlier off Jon Lester. The National League pitcher of the month for June, Lester has allowed 13 runs in 4 1/3 innings in July, including five in three innings Saturday.
Bell slugged a 1-1 pitch from Adam Warren (3-2) over the seats perched above the 21-foot wall in right for his second pinch-hit in two games since being recalled from Triple-A on Friday.
"What a fantastic sequence," said the Pirates' Clint Hurdle, who has more than 1,000 managerial wins. "I got goose bumps. I've got them probably a dozen times since I've been a coach or a manager."
The San Francisco Giants, who took over from the Cubs atop the major league standings last Wednesday, won their seventh in nine with a 4-2 home defeat of Arizona to take their record to 56-33.
Brandon Belt had an RBI triple and Grant Green homered for the first time this season. Angel Pagan added two hits and Ruben Tejada doubled in a run for the Giants, who have won seven of nine.
George Kontos (2-1), one of six relievers used by manager Bruce Bochy after Jake Peavy was knocked out of the game in the fifth, retired four batters for the win. Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
Boston's Japanese reliever Koji Uehara gained his fourth save for the season, working the ninth inning as the Red Sox won 4-1 at home to Tampa Bay.
Rick Porcello pitched seven innings to remain unbeaten in his Fenway Park starts this season as the Red Sox sent the Rays to their fifth straight loss.
On a day when the Red Sox learned they lost closer Craig Kimbrel to a left knee injury for likely three to six weeks, they won for the fifth time in six games.
Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run single for Boston. Brad Miller homered for the Rays, who have dropped 21 of 24.
In New York, Daniel Murphy homered for the sixth time this year against his former team, powering Max Scherzer and the Nationals to a 6-1 win over the Mets.
The NL East leaders opened a five-game lead on the Mets.
Murphy had a run-scoring single in the third inning, an RBI double in the fifth and launched his 16th home run in the seventh. He is batting .438 (21 of 48) with 19 RBIs against the Mets after becoming a free agent in the offseason and signing with Washington.
In other games, Detroit won 3-2 at Toronto, Baltimore won 3-2 against the visiting Los Angeles Angels, the New York Yankees won 7-6 at Cleveland in 11 innings, St. Louis won 8-1 at Milwaukee, the LA Dodgers beat San Diego 4-3 at home, Colorado beat visiting Philadelphia 8-3, the Chicago White Sox beat Atlanta 5-4 at home, Kansas City beat visiting Seattle 5-3, Oakland won 3-2 at Houston, and Miami beat Cincinnati 4-2 at home.