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Reds grab game on Pirates in tight NL Central race

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game on Saturday, July 20, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game on Saturday, July 20, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Joey Votto drove in a pair of runs, and Shin-Soo Choo extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games yesterday, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The third-place Reds have won the first two games in the NL Central series, closing their gap with second-place Pittsburgh to two games. The Ohio River rivals have split their 12 games this season.

Cincinnati’s Mat Latos (9-3) and Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett (4-7) had a tough time finding their control after a 1-hour, 17-minute rain delay in the middle of the first inning. Aroldis Chapman escaped a two-on threat in the ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances.

Latos gave up three runs in only five innings. Travis Snider’s pinch-hit RBI double cut it to 5-4 in the eighth, but Logan Ondrusek got Jose Tabata to ground out with the bases loaded, ending the rally.

METS 5, PHILLIES 4

Gonzalez Germen came out of the bullpen to bail out fellow rookie Zack Wheeler and help the New York Mets hold off Philadelphia.

Marlon Byrd, David Wright and Daniel Murphy each had an RBI single for the Mets, who handed Cole Hamels his latest defeat and snapped Philadelphia’s seven-game winning streak at Citi Field. Another rookie, Juan Lagares, had a run-scoring single among his three hits.

Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff homer, and Chase Utley had a two-run shot in the ninth for the Phillies. They put the potential tying run on second with two outs before Bobby Parnell retired Darin Ruf on a game-ending liner to second.

BREWERS 6, MARLINS 0

Yovani Gallardo carried a shutout into the seventh inning, and Jonathan Lucroy and Rickie Weeks belted home runs, leading Milwaukee over Miami.

Gallardo (8-8) gave up five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five batters and walked two. Four relievers combined to preserve the shutout as the Brewers held the Marlins without a run for the second consecutive game and extended Miami’s scoreless streak to 24 innings.

Lucroy went 4 for 4 and finished a triple short of a cycle.

The Brewers stretched their dominance at home over the Marlins, winning for the 13th time in 16 games at Miller Park, dating to 2009.

The Brewers got to Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi (2-1) for two runs in the first inning. Rickie Weeks led off the fourth inning with a homer to center field.

Eovaldi surrendered 10 hits and six runs in four innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Padres 5, Cardinals 3

Edinson Volquez was bailed out by his bullpen and earned the victory in San Diego’s win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Nick Vincent, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregorson and Huston Street worked an inning apiece after Volquez (7-8) faded at the end of a five-inning outing. Street was perfect in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances after Carlos Quentin’s RBI double off Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth put the Padres up by two runs.

Lance Lynn (11-5) lost for the fourth time in five starts, allowing four runs in five innings.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Kansas City 6, Detroit 5

Salvador Perez drove in three runs and Mike Moustakas went 3 for 4 with a game-winning home run to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander.

Verlander (10-7) had not lost to the Royals since Sept. 9, 2009, but gave up six runs, five earned, on eight hits and four walks in 5 2∕3 innings. It was the seventh time in 21 starts that Verlander failed to make it into the sixth inning.

Moustakas homered to right in the fifth to snap a 5-5 tie.

Perez drove in a run in the first with a sacrifice fly and stroked a two-run double in the third.

Jeremy Guthrie (9-7) picked up the victory, surrendering five runs on 10 hits and two walks in six innings.

Greg Holland worked the ninth to collect his 24th save in 26 chances.

MARINERS 4, ASTROS 2

Michael Saunders got Seattle’s only hit with a two RBI double with two outs in the seventh inning to lift the Mariners to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Erik Bedard (3-7) pitched 6 1-3 innings of no-hit ball before he was replaced by Jose Cisnero, who walked Mike Zunino with two outs before the double by Saunders put Seattle ahead 4-2.

The long fly ball sailed just out of reach of sprinting center fielder Brandon Barnes and landed at the top of Tal’s Hill in straightaway center.

The Mariners, who extended their season-high winning streak to five games, tied it in a wacky sixth inning by scoring two runs thanks to a combination of passed balls, walks and a sacrifice fly.

Travis Blackley and Jose Veras each pitched a scoreless inning to complete the one-hitter.

RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 3

Jeremy Hellickson won his fifth straight decision, Desmond Jennings reached base four times and Tampa Bay beat the Toronto for its 16th win in 18 games.

Rookie Wil Myers had two RBIs in his first career start as the cleanup hitter. Myers, who finished 2 for 4, has nine hits in his past 17 at bats.

Jennings went 3 for 4 with a walk and scored twice.

After starting the season 14-18, the Rays are a major league-best 43-23 since May 8.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista homered for the second straight game but the last-place Blue Jays lost for the fifth time in six games.

Hellickson (9-3) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings, walked three and struck out three.

TWINS 3, INDIANS 2

Kevin Correia threw six sharp innings for his first win in a month, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each had two hits and a walk, and Minnesota beat Cleveland for its fourth-straight win.

Correia (7-6) allowed only three hits – one of them a two-run homer by Jason Kipnis – with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Indians led 2-0 after Kipnis’s homer in the sixth. But Corey Kluber – who had pitched five shutout innings up to that point – left the game with tightness in his left hip, and the Twins pounced on a couple of Cleveland infield miscues to take the lead.

The Indians have lost two straight after heading into the All-Star break with a four-game winning streak.

INTERLEAGUE

WHITE SOX 10, BRAVES 6

Alex Rios hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, and Jake Peavy pitched six solid innings in his return from the disabled list to lead Chicago.

Rios, who had been in a 2-for-20 slump, went 3 for 5 to help Chicago win for just the 10th time in 32 games.

Peavy (7-4), making his first start since June 4 because of a fracture rib, allowed seven hits in six innings, and just two of the four runs charged to him were earned.

Braves starter Paul Maholm (9-9) was forced out in the fourth inning because of a sprained left wrist. He was staked to a 4-0 lead but couldn’t hold it. He allowed seven runs and seven hits in three-plus innings.

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