Around the Bases: Pirates are no longer losers, Rangers back on top in AL West

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Scores and notes from around Tuesday's MLB action, including the Pirates clinching at least a .500 season for the first time since 1992. The Rangers retook sole possession of first place with a win in Oakland. Max Scherzer lost just his second start of the year with the Tigers falling to the Red Sox.

Pirates 4, Brewers 3: Congratulations are due to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have clinched their first .500 season in more than 20 years with Tuesday's victory. With 24 games remaining, a winning season is inevitable. To sweeten the deal even further, the win pushed the Pirates up to two games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the division lead. The game went down to the wire, with the Brewers tying it up in the bottom of the eighth only to see recent call-up Travis Snider hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth.

Rangers 5, Athletics 1: Texas snapped a two-game losing streak to take a one-game lead in the American League West over Oakland after they saw their four-game winning streak end. Martin Perez allowed one run in seven innings to pick up the win for the Rangers, but the play of the game came from Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson in the sixth inning:

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Royals 4, Mariners 3: Riding home runs from Sal Perez and Alex Gordon, along with an excellent start by Bruce Chen, the Royals held a 3-0 lead after five innings. Chen had allowed just four hits to the point and was working a shutout, but a sixth inning two run homer from Kyle Seager put the Mariners back in the game. Another Seattle run in the seventh tied the game up. Sal Perez knocked in his second run of the day the next inning, however, and the Kansas City bullpen maintained the lead.

Reds 1, Cardinals 0: If not for Matt Carpenter, the Cardinals may have been no-hit Tuesday. Carpenter led off the game with a single, then hit another single in the third. The next six innings saw the Cardinals go hitless. Homer Bailey posted perhaps his best start since his no-hitter of the Giants, with seven shutout innings of two-hit ball while striking out eight batters and walking one. Michael Wacha matched him for six innings, but Seth Maness gave up the lone run of the game in the seventh as Todd Frazier doubled home Ryan Ludwick. Much-heralded Reds' prospect Billy Hamilton had his first career stolen base in this game.

Braves 3, Mets 1: Maybe a short break in the minors was all Evan Gattis needed. After being recalled by the Braves, Gattis went 3-3 in his first start back with the team and tied the game at one with his 16th home run of the year in the seventh inning. Dan Uggla followed that up with a walk and Andrelton Simmons gave Atlanta the lead with a two run homer. Kris Medlen was excellent for the Braves with nine strikeouts over seven frames.

Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: Max Scherzer was looking to become just the second man to ever start a season 20-1, and he pitched well enough to earn it. Scherzer allowed just five hits and two runs over seven innings while striking out eight, but poor run support doomed his quest. Jon Lester used nine strikeouts to keep eight baserunners from scoring, and a two-run single off the bat of Will Middlebrooks proved to be all the Red Sox needed.

Nationals 9, Phillies 6: Three errors almost doomed the Nationals as their pitchers combined to give up just two runs. Fortunately for them, the Phillies' Ethan Martin gave up five earned runs in just under five innings and a Philadelphia error led to two unearned runs of their own. In the end, the Nationals came out with the win in a sloppy, high-scoring affair.

Yankees 6, White Sox 4: For seven innings, Chris Sale kept the Yankees' bats tied down. New York's only run came when Vernon Wells stole home. He wouldn't have had the opportunity had a Conor Gillaspie error not allowed him to reach third. Meanwhile, the White Sox scored four runs of their own. Unfortunately for them, the Yankees were just waiting for the moment to strike. That came in the eighth, when the Yankees had six of their nine hits and scored five runs to take the lead. Mariano Rivera was as good as ever in the ninth to collect the save.

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Indians 4, Orioles 3: Ubaldo Jimenez almost looked like it was 2010 again, throwing six shutout innings of four-hit ball. Chris Tillman had big-time control issues and gave up four runs, including three in the sixth. The Orioles came back in the ninth as the first two hitters reached base before Nate McClouth cleared the bags by McClouting a three-run homer. That was the end of the rally, though, as two strikeouts and a groundout ended the game. In a matchup of teams in a playoff chase, the Cleveland fan base didn't do much to support their team.

Twins 9, Astros 6 (12 innings): This game was as back-and-forth as you can get. The Twins led off the scoring with two runs in the first, then another two in the third after Houston put one on the board in the second. After a short break, the Astros came back with two of their own in the seventh. Minnesota put up another two spot in the eighth to take a 6-3 lead, but a Brandon Barnes three-run homer in the ninth sent the game to extras. With one out and runners on second and third, Houston's Kevin Chapman threw a wild pitch to break the tie. A two-out Darin Mastroianni double plated two more and the Twins never looked back.

Marlins 6, Cubs 2: Both the Cubs' Edwin Jackson and the Marlins' Tom Koehler started the game well, with a 0-0 stalemate through four innings. Both pitchers blew up in the fifth, though, with the Marlins coming out just ahead. Jackson gave up three runs on four hits in the fifth, while Koehler left after a Brian Bogusevic solo shot and two walks. Dan Jennings came on in relief and allowed a run on a sacrifice fly, but held the lead and the rest of the Marlins bullpen shutout Chicago for the remainder of the game. The Marlins scored three insurance runs in the eighth.

Dodgers 7, Rockies 4: The Rockies may have made an excellent comeback in this game if not for an error by left fielder Charlie Culberson. Colorado had scored three runs over the previous four frames to come back to within a run from a 4-0 deficit. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs and Mark Ellis lifted a catchable ball to left field. Culberson let it bounce off his glove, resulting in three runs and no outs. Colorado scored what would have been the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little, too late after the Culberson error.

Blue Jays 10, Diamondbacks 4: Talk about a slugfest. The two teams combined four seven homers in this game, accounting for 10 of the game's 14 runs. It was a Brett Lawrie single that started scoring in the first inning, and two more singles brought in two more runs in the second for Toronto. The Blue Jays also received a Rajai Davis two-run homer that frame. Toronto scored one more run in the fifth, but Arizona looked to mount a comeback and cut the lead to just two runs after seven innings. With a 6-4 lead, the Blue Jays finished how they started, scoring another four runs in the eighth and ninth and not looking back.

Rays 7, Angels 1: Tampa Bay snapped a five-game losing streak thanks to home runs by Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar. Matt Moore came off the disabled list at just the right time for the Rays, as he pitched into the sixth inning to improve to 15-3. Joe Blanton lowered his ERA to 6.04, but also was uncharacteristically wild.

Padres 3, Giants 2: Nick Hundley was 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored to lead San Diego to a home win over San Francisco in the battle for last place in the National League West. Will Venable, who earlier on Tuesday signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract, went 1-for-4 with a double for the Padres. The red-hot Venable has hit .348/.387/.627 with 23 extra-base hits in 41 games since the All-Star break.

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