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Cardinals rally to run winning streak to 4 games

by The Associated Press | September 21, 2020 at 2:02 a.m.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH -- Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run and Jack Flaherty struck out 11 in six innings as the St. Louis Cardinals kept their hold on a postseason spot with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Molina's home run to the bleachers in left field came in the seventh inning off Derek Holland (1-3) and extended St. Louis' winning streak to a season-high four games. The Cardinals had been shut out by Joe Musgrove over the first six innings.

Flaherty (4-2) allowed only one run and two hits.

Flaherty had been tagged for a career-worst nine runs in three innings in his previous start Tuesday at Milwaukee. He said he made some slight changes to his throwing mechanics between starts.

"It's a game of continuous adjustments and there was obviously a lot to improve on after the last one," Flaherty said. "I had a good week of work of getting together with guys and seeing what adjustments we could make."

The Cardinals (26-24) hold a one-game lead on Cincinnati (27-27) and Milwaukee (26-26) for second place in the NL Central with one week left in the regular season. The top two finishers in each division gain berths in the expanded postseason during this pandemic-affected season.

"It's a grind but we're concentrating on ourselves and we try to do the best we can," Molina said. "Right now, we're finding a way to get wins. It's a weird year, but we hope it's going to be a special year and we'll be the covid World Series champs."

Musgrove also had 11 strikeouts in six innings but remained winless in seven starts this season.

BRAVES 7, METS 0 Kyle Wright (2-4) allowed only one hit in the best start of his big league career, pitching into the seventh inning to lead Atlanta past New York.

MARLINS 2-0, NATIONALS 1-15 Despite a blowout loss, Miami will embark on their first meaningful week to close a season since their 2003 World Series championship run. Kurt Suzuki homered and doubled to bounce back from a game-ending strikeout in the opener, and Washington routed the playoff-contending Marlins to split a doubleheader.

ROCKIES 6, DODGERS 3 Antonio Senzatela (5-2) pitched efficiently into the seventh inning as Colorado defeated Los Angeles.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

INDIANS 7, TIGERS 4 Carlos Carrasco (3-4) allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings, and Jose Ramirez homered twice to lift Cleveland.

ORIOLES 2, RAYS 1 John Means (2-3) struck out a career-high 12 as Baltimore knocked off visiting Tampa Bay.

RANGERS 7, ANGELS 2 Kyle Cody earned his first major league win as Texas hit a season-high five home runs to power past Los Angeles.

RED SOX 10, YANKEES 2 Tanner Houck (2-0) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his second major league start and Michael Chavis had two home runs and five RBI as Boston defeated New York.

INTERLEAGUE

ASTROS 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2 George Springer homered twice, including an inside-the-park shot, to lead Houston over Arizona.

BLUE JAYS 6, PHILLIES 3 Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run home run and Taijuan Walker (4-3) tossed six sharp innings to help visiting Toronto snap a six-game losing streak.

BREWERS 5, ROYALS 3 Daniel Vogelbach belted a pair of home runs and drove in all five runs as Milwaukee beat visiting Kansas City.

GIANTS 14, ATHLETICS 2 Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam, Chadwick Tromp and Darin Ruf added two-run home runs, as San Francisco defeated host Oakland.

PADRES 7, MARINERS 4 (11) San Diego is returning to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years after beating Seattle with a three-run rally in the 11th inning that included a go-ahead double by newcomer Mitch Moreland.

REDS 7, WHITE SOX 3 Mike Moustakas hit a two-run single as host Cincinnati scored five times in the fourth inning on just one hit.

TWINS 4, CUBS 0 Max Kepler homered, Jose Berrios (5-3) threw six shutout innings to outduel Yu Darvish (7-3) and Minnesota beat Chicago.

St. Louis Cardinals' Paul DeJong prepares to tag out Pittsburgh Pirates' Jose Osuna during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul DeJong prepares to tag out Pittsburgh Pirates' Jose Osuna during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pirates' Erik Gonzalez misplays a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Brad Miller during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pirates' Erik Gonzalez misplays a ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Brad Miller during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/David Dermer) Pennsylvania
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