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Cardinals close in on Reds with 8-5 win

 Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in C...

Cardinals Reds Baseball

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in C...

The St. Louis Cardinals stepped up their pursuit of Cincinnati for the National League Central division lead by beating the Reds 8-5 on Friday, thanks chiefly to a sixth-inning meltdown by Cincinnati pitcher Mat Latos.
The Cardinals have won four straight to move to a season best of 13 games above .500, and now trail the Reds by six games as well as having sole possession of the second wild-card berth.
Latos (10-4) had been dominant through August and entered the sixth with the Reds in front 5-2, but he then gave up four runs without retiring a single batter, including a three-run homer by Allen Craig which tied the game, then Yadier Molina's go-ahead shot.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, who are drifting but remain in contention in the Central, were beaten 6-5 at home by the Milwaukee Brewers. Aramis Ramirez put Milwaukee ahead with a three-run double in the seventh, while Mike Fiers (7-6) matched a career high by striking out ten.
The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves are two teams seemingly headed in different directions, and that trend strengthened Friday as the Giants won 5-3.
San Francisco's fifth straight win maintained its three-game lead in the NL West, and was due mainly to Angel Pagan's four hits _ including the go-ahead triple _ and Ryan Vogelsong (11-7) manufacturing a victory despite giving up three homers.
The Braves have lost six out of seven and trail the East-leading Washington Nationals by 6 1-2 games, with even their hold on a wild-card spot looking shaky.
Washington also lost, 4-2 at the Philadelphia Phillies, who got two RBIs from Jimmy Rollins and an effective pitching performance from Kyle Kendrick (7-9).
The Los Angeles Dodgers kept up their playoff hopes with an 11-4 win over the Miami Marlins. Andre Ethier went 4-for-4 from the plate with a homer and four RBIs, while Hanley Ramirez and Juan Rivera also went long.
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost ground in the West by losing 5-0 to the San Diego Padres. Eric Stults starred with bat and ball for the Padres, pitching seven scoreless innings and driving in a career-best three runs.
Friday's other NL games saw the Chicago Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 and the Houston Astros downed the New York Mets 3-1.
In the American League, Friday's key result was the Oakland Athletics winning 5-4 at the Tampa Bay Rays, with Jonny Gomes hitting a two-run homer against his old team in the top of the eighth to put the visitors in front.
The result kept the A's level with the Baltimore Orioles for the second and final wild-card berth, while the Rays _ which hold the first wild card _ dropped 3 1-2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Baltimore had a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, with Chris Davis hitting three homers from just four at-bats. He had a chance to become just the 17th man in majors history to hit four in a game, but struck out swinging for the fences in the eighth.
The Yankees won 3-1 over the Cleveland Indians. New York ace C.C. Sabathia (13-3) returned from injury, giving up only one run in 7 1-3 innings, while Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer.
The Los Angeles Angels stayed within 2 1-2 games of the wildcard by beating the Detroit Tigers 2-1. Both the Angels runs came from Howie Kendrick's two-run double in the sixth, but that was enough due to a dominant pitching performance from Zack Greinke (2-2), giving up only one run in 7 2-3 innings.
The loss dropped the Tigers 2 1-2 games behind the Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who edged the Seattle Mariners 9-8. Paul Konerko hit an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth to clinch a dramatic victory.
Seattle scored six runs in the top of the ninth to snatch the lead, only for the Tigers to take it back with two runs in the bottom of the frame. The Mariners are 7 1-2 games off the wild card, with every loss putting a dent in their faint playoff hopes.
The Texas Rangers remain six games clear atop the West after an 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Texas' Matt Harrison (15-7) didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh, while Adrian Beltre hit for the cycle.
In Friday's other game, the Boston Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3.

Updated : 2021-06-25 00:37 GMT+08:00