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MLB roundup: Marcus Semien helps A’s beat Royals 2-1

Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien, left, tags out Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield (15) during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. (Orlin Wagner / AP)
Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien, left, tags out Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield (15) during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019. (Orlin Wagner / AP)
Associated Press

Marcus Semien provided just enough early offense and Mike Fiers and three Oakland relievers combined to shut down the Kansas City Royals in a 2-1 victory Tuesday night in Kansas City, Missouri.

Semien scored in the first inning and drove in a run in the second. That was all the offense the A’s pitchers needed one day after Oakland had a season-high 19 runs.

Fiers (13-3) scattered eight hits in his 5 1/3 innings, but allowed just Alex Gordon’s RBI double in the sixth. He’s now won 11 straight decisions, dating to May 7, tying Mark Mulder for the second-longest winning streak in Oakland history.

Mike Montgomery (3-7) surrendered an unearned run in the first and another run in the second, but gave up nothing else through 6 1/3 innings.

Orioles 2, Nationals 0

WASHINGTON – Aaron Brooks came up with an unexpected pitching gem against the torrid-hitting Nationals, throwing six innings of two-hit ball to help Baltimore end Washington’s five-game winning streak.

The Nationals were coming off a weekend sweep of Chicago Cubs and had won 12 of 14 to take control of the NL wild-card race before getting upended by the neighboring, last-place Orioles.

Brooks (4-7) came in with a 6.21 ERA and was facing a team averaging 9 1/2 runs over its last 11 games. The right-hander allowed just four baserunners and struck out six, including four in a row bridging the first and second innings.

Rookie Hunter Harvey worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, and Mychal Givens, the last of four Orioles relievers, got three straight outs to complete the four-hitter and earn his 11th save.

Washington’s Patrick Corbin (10-6) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts.

Cubs 5, Mets 2

NEW YORK – Yu Darvish pitched eight masterful innings, Javier Baez homered and drove in three runs, and the Cubs topped the Mets in the opener of a pivotal three-game series in the NL wild-card race.

Baez and Addison Russell each hit a two-run homer off Marcus Stroman (7-12). Darvish (5-6) allowed five hits, struck out seven and issued one walk – his first in six starts since his last one on July 23.

Pete Alonso hit his 42nd home run for the Mets, becoming the first rookie in 81 years to break his team’s season record. J.D. Davis also went deep in the ninth against Brandon Kintzler.

New York dropped its fourth straight, all at home, and fell three games behind Chicago for the second NL wild card.

Astros 15, Rays 1

HOUSTON – Rookie Yordan Alvarez homered twice as Houston jumped on former teammate Charlie Morton to build a big lead before Justin Verlander was ejected in the sixth inning.

The Astros honored Morton (13-6) with a pregame video recounting the highlights of his two-year stint with the team.

Houston’s hitters didn’t give Morton nearly as warm of a reception in his first trip to Minute Maid Park since signing with the Rays. The Astros tagged him for seven hits and a season-high six runs in four innings, which tied his shortest start this season.

Verlander (16-5) was ejected for yelling at home plate umpire Pat Hoberg in the sixth. He became upset when he thought he struck out Tommy Pham, but the pitch was called a ball.

The Rays got their only run on Joey Wendle’s first homer of the season in the seventh.

Blue Jays 3, Braves 1

TORONTO – Justin Smoak homered and drove in two runs, leading Toronto to the victory.

Smoak hit an RBI single off Mike Soroka (10-3) in a two-run first, and added his 20th homer in the seventh against Sean Newcomb.

The NL East-leading Braves lost their second straight following an eight-game winning streak that matched a season high. They managed just four runs while playing in New York, Colorado and Toronto in a span of three days.

Former Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson went 0 for 4 in his first game back in Toronto.

Zack Godley (4-5) pitched three innings for the win. Ken Giles, the seventh Toronto pitcher, got three outs for his 17th save.

Reds 8, Marlins 5

MIAMI – Curt Casali homered and drove in three runs, helping the Reds to the victory.

Casali hit a tying solo drive off Caleb Smith (8-8) in the fourth inning. He batted again in the fifth and hit a two-run single off Tyler Kinley, giving the Reds a 5-3 lead.

Cincinnati also got a big game from Eugenio Suarez, who went deep for the third straight day and finished with three hits. Suarez leads the team with 37 homers.

Jorge Alfaro homered for the third straight game for last-place Miami, which has dropped three of four. Jon Berti had three hits, and Isan Diaz had two RBIs.

Luis Castillo (13-5) struck out 11 in six innings for Cincinnati. Raisel Iglesias got four outs for his 27th save.

Red Sox 10, Rockies 6

DENVER – Jackie Bradley Jr. opened Boston’s three-homer night with a solo shot into the third deck.

Bradley’s estimated 478-foot blast in the second inning was the seventh-longest this season, according to Statcast.

Christian Vazquez added a two-run homer and Xander Bogaerts contributed a solo shot as the Red Sox ran their long-ball streak to 17 straight games.

Rick Porcello (12-10) threw five solid innings and allowed two runs.

Colorado outfielder Sam Hilliard had a two-run homer in his major league debut. Nolan Arenado added a two-run homer in the ninth for the Rockies. Rico Garcia (0-1) got the loss in his first big league start.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2

SAN FRANCISCO – Mike Leake pitched into the eighth inning in his first win since joining Arizona in a trade.

Ketel Marte homered in the fifth for Arizona, but came up limping as he ran the bases and left because of a cramp in his right hamstring. Marte’s single in the third gave him a 10-game hitting streak and career-best 21-game streak safely reaching base.

Adam Jones hit a go-ahead single in the sixth off Sam Coonrod (4-1), and Christian Walker added an RBI single the next inning as Arizona won the season series 10-9.

Leake (10-10) won his fifth start since he was acquired in a trade with Seattle on July 31. Archie Bradley got three outs for his ninth save.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 3

MILWAUKEE – Yadier Molina homered twice and the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals matched a season high with their sixth straight win in a rain-delayed game inside Miller Park.

Play was halted briefly with the Cardinals batting with two outs in seventh inning as rain poured through the open roof and fans rushed to the covered concourses. The delay lasted about nine minutes as the retractable roof closed.

St. Louis right fielder Dexter Fowler preserved the win by jumping at the wall to catch a drive by Hernan Perez with two on for the final out.

Miles Mikolas (8-13) struck out 10 for the Cardinals, who have won 15 of 18 and are a season-best 15 games above .500.

Molina’s solo homer in the fifth inning made it 1-all. After Paul DeJong walked with one out in the seventh, Molina homered off the left-field foul pole against reliever Matt Albers (5-4) to break the tie.

Twins 3, White Sox 1

CHICAGO – Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Schoop hit solo homers in the second inning, and Michael Pineda pitched five sharp innings to lead Minnesota.

Eddie Rosario knocked in an insurance run in the eighth as the AL Central-leading Twins won their third straight to remain 3 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland. Minnesota (80-51) moved to 29 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2010.

Tim Anderson’s 14th homer accounted for the only run off Pineda (10-5), who won his third straight start and fourth straight decision. The right-hander allowed four hits and walked one while striking out eight, but was replaced by Sam Dyson to start the sixth after 89 pitches.

Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers followed as Minnesota’s bullpen came through with four scoreless innings. Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

Lucas Giolito (14-7) gave up two runs and four hits with three walks in six innings, while striking out nine to reach 203 for the season.

Pirates 5, Phillies 4

PHILADELPHIA – Rhys Hoskins kept Phillies fans booing when he inexplicably dropped a routine throw at first base in the ninth, turning what appeared to be an inning-ending double play into the go-ahead run for Pittsburgh.

After a pair of one-out walks by Hector Neris (2-5), Kevin Newman hit a grounder to second baseman Cesar Hernandez that could’ve let the Phillies escape. Jean Segura’s relay throw should have finishing the inning, but the struggling Hoskins seemed to close his mitt too early and the ball smacked off the leather and rolled away. Adam Frazier scrambled home to score the tiebreaking run in stunning fashion and the Phillies failed to gain ground in the NL wild-card race.

Felipe Vazquez (5-1) got the win for the Pirates with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Sean Rodriguez provoked the ire of Phillies fans a day after he won a game a with an extra-inning home run and blasted the crowd for booing. Rodriguez was booed during lineup introductions and each time he came to hit.

Indians 10, Tigers 1

DETROIT – Franmil Reyes hit a three-run homer to highlight a six-run seventh inning, and Cleveland beat Detroit for the 12th straight time and 13 in 14 matchups this season.

Carlos Santana had three hits and scored three times for Cleveland, while four pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts.

Detroit is now 17-44 at Comerica Park and needs to win five of the final 20 home games to avoid becoming the first team since at least 1908 to lose 60 at home.

The Tigers also lost Miguel Cabrera, who left the game after two at-bats with tightness in his left biceps – the same one he tore to end his 2018 season in June.

Adam Plutko (6-3) improved to 2-0 in his last three starts, giving up one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out a career-high nine.

Spencer Turnbull (3-13) allowed four runs and seven hits, needing 98 pitches to get through five innings. He is tied for third in the majors in losses, one behind Brad Keller and Aaron Sanchez.

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