Royals surge past A’s to stay top of AL Central
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Kansas City’s Nori Aoki and Billy Butler each drove in two runs during a five-run seventh inning that rallied the surging Royals to a 7-3 win over Oakland on Thursday, keeping them top of the American League Central division.
The Royals, who have not made the playoffs for 29 years, stayed half a game ahead of Detroit, which beat Pittsburgh thanks to a superb performance by pitcher Max Scherzer.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Dodgers boosted their lead in the National League West to near impregnable proportions by beating an Atlanta team that is struggling to stay in playoff contention and fell further behind Washington, which beat the Mets in New York yet again.
Kansas City has won 18 of its 22 games to move 12 games above a .500 record for the first time since 2003.
Aoki’s two-run triple put the Royals ahead 5-3. Butler’s single scored Aoki and Alcides Escobar.
Oakland’s Jeff Samardzija (3-2) took the loss despite leaving after 6-2/3 innings with a 3-2 lead. Reliever Ryan Cook faced three batters and all of them scored, ending his streak of 21 consecutive shutout innings.
Los Angeles’ Drew Butera hit his first homer since May, clunking a two-run shot in the second inning that helped the Dodgers beat Atlanta 6-4.
Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs with three hits, and Dee Gordon scored four runs for the National League pacesetters.
Roberto Hernandez (7-8) pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run, to notch his first win for the Dodgers after being traded by Philadelphia last week.
The Braves have lost 12 of 14 and dropped three games off the second and last NL wild-card berth.
Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer struck out 14 batters in eight scoreless innings to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh.
Scherzer (14-4) has a 6-1 record over his past 10 starts with a 1.78 ERA and 85 strikeouts.
Scherzer’s performance and a homer from J.D. Martinez gave the Tigers a split of the four-game series that started in Pittsburgh.
Pirates’ starter Francisco Liriano (3-9) took the loss despite allowing only three hits in six innings and striking out nine.
Washington won 4-1 at the Mets to notch a franchise record of 11-straight wins in away games against the one team.
New York’s 11 straight losses to Washington in Queens is also a new franchise record against one team; the Mets lost 10 in a row to Atlanta in Shea Stadium across the 1991 and ’92 seasons.
Stephen Strasburg (9-10) bounced back from a poor previous start to pitch seven efficient innings, giving up only an unearned run while producing eight strikeouts.
Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche each hit a two-run homer for the Nationals, who moved six games clear of the Braves atop the NL East.
St. Louis’ Jon Jay delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning and right fielder Shane Robinson threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth to help the Cardinals hold off San Diego 4-3.
Trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases with one out and Jake Goebbert came through with an RBI single, but Alexi Amarista was cut down at home plate when he tried to score from second.
Jhonny Peralta hit an early two-run homer for the Cardinals, who moved ahead of Pittsburgh into second place in the NL Central. St. Louis remained two games behind division-leading Milwaukee, which beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2.
Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers struck out a career-high 14 through six innings to lead the Brewers to victory.
Miami’s Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones with the winning run in the 10th inning to give the Marlins a 5-4 victory against Arizona.
Colorado’s Charlie Culberson hit his first homer in more than a month — a three-run shot in the fifth — to help the Rockies defeat Cincinnati 7-3.
Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria homered and drove in three runs to power the Rays past Texas 6-3.
Boston’s Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double which capped a seven-run sixth inning that led the Red Sox past Houston 9-4.