Cards top Pirates
Carlos Beltran had RBIs in his first two at-bats to help chase A.J. Burnett early, and Joe Kelly beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates for the third straight time in a 12-8 rout Friday night that pulled the St. Louis Cardinals within a half-game of the N.L. Central leaders.
Burnett gave up five runs in three innings, his shortest outing of the year, and the Cardinals opened a seven-run seventh with nine straight hits off three relievers, including Yadier Molina’s three-run homer off Bryan Morris. The Pirates have lost two straight, both blowouts, and remain a win shy of clinching their first winning season since 1992.
Leadoff man Matt Carpenter tripled and doubled to tie Albert Pujols’ season record of 98 hits in 2008 at Busch Stadium. It was also his major-league-high 55th multihit game.
Cardinals’ GM hoping on Craig return
St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said he’d be happy if Allen Craig could return for the postseason.
Craig is sidelined by a left mid-foot sprain and he’s wearing a boot to immobilize the injury sustained rounding first base Wednesday in Cincinnati.
“I think in the short term he’s not going to be available anytime soon,” Mozeliak said.
Craig has had a pair of MRI exams that showed no fracture and met with a handful of doctors whose opinions have the Cardinals cautiously optimistic.
Mauer unable to shake concussion
Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer’s concussion symptoms have not cleared up. Mauer, hurt on Aug. 19 when a foul ball hit his facemask, was missing from the lineup for the 16th straight game when the Twins started a series against visiting Toronto.
The All-Star said after batting practice he had “a good day,” but the recovery process has been slow.
Clearing the bases
Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has returned to his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., to be with wife, Melissa, for the birth of their first child. Manager Terry Francona isn’t sure how long the left fielder will be out. … Nationals center fielder Denard Span was a late scratch at Miami with tightness in his groin. Span has a career-high 17-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors. … Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup against the Yankees because of a sore right foot.
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