All that really matters for manager Jeff Banister and the Texas Rangers is getting the victory that finished off a three-game sweep of the AL West-leading Houston Astros. ''It wasn't pretty, typically you don't win a ballgame when you walk eight and hit one,'' Banister said. Chris Gimenez hit what proved to be a deciding home run and Texas held on for the 4-3 win Wednesday night, using five relievers after Nick Martinez allowed one hit and one run over five innings on his 25th birthday.
Rookie Randal Grichuk knew that in homer-friendly Great American Ball Park, all it takes is one decent swing to end a game. Matt Carpenter tied it with a solo homer in the eighth, and Grichuk connected in the 13th inning, rallying the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. Grichuk was moved up to second in the Cardinals' struggling batting order.
The Pittsburgh Pirates looked for Gregory Polanco to give them a spark when they moved him to the top of the batting order last month after leadoff hitter Josh Harrison tore a ligament in his thumb. Polanco and Andrew McCutchen homered and the Pirates beat Chicago 7-5 on Wednesday night, ending the Cubs' season-best six-game winning streak. Polanco has hit .282 (28 for 99) with 13 walks in 25 games since Harrison went on the disabled list July 6.
Steven Wright had the secret to success against that torrid Yankees lineup. Wright handcuffed New York hitters with his steady supply of floating knuckleballs, and David Ortiz launched a colossal home run for the Boston Red Sox in their 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. A costly throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley helped spoil the debut of prized Yankees pitching prospect Luis Severino, who yielded only two hits over five impressive innings.
The Toronto Blue Jays have been piling up home runs and victories. Jose Bautista hit a grand slam, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson also homered and the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 9-7 for their fourth straight victory. Encarnacion hit a three-run drive and Donaldson had a two-run shot.
Madison Bumgarner loves how the San Francisco Giants have returned to their winning ways with a tough part of the schedule coming up. San Francisco is about to begin a month-long stretch that includes eight series against contending teams. Bumgarner likes his team's chances.
Michael McKenry whiffed when he had a chance to be a hero last time. McKenry hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 11th inning and the Colorado Rockies rallied to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5 on Wednesday. McKenry ended the 4-hour, 7-minute game when he hit Mayckol Guaipe's 2-2 curveball into the left-field seats for his fourth home run of the season.