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MLB capsules: Dodgers defeat Cardinals in opener of key N.L. series

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manny Machado hits a home run off of St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher John Brebbia during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in St. Louis. (Billy Hurst / Associated Press)
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manny Machado hits a home run off of St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher John Brebbia during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in St. Louis. (Billy Hurst / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Manny Machado homered and drove in three runs to back Clayton Kershaw, and visiting Los Angeles beat St. Louis 9-7 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between playoff contenders.

The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak against the Cardinals and moved within one game of St. Louis for the second N.L. wild-card spot. The Cardinals, who went 22-6 in August, lost their second straight game and fell to 5-7 in September.

Kershaw, pitching at Busch Stadium for the first time since taking the loss in Game 4 of the 2014 N.L. division series, struck out eight in six innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on eight hits and two walks. Austin Gomber was the loser.

Machado went 3 for 4, and his solo homer in the seventh traveled 417 feet to center.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: J.D. Martinez hit his 41st home run and Boston moved closer to winning the A.L. East title, completing a three-game sweep of visiting Toronto.

Xander Bogaerts scored the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning error after the Blue Jays rallied in the top half with two runs to tie it at 3.

Rafael Devers also homered for the major league-leading Red Sox (101-46). They pulled 10 1/2 games ahead of the idle New York Yankees and decreased their magic number to six for clinching a third straight division crown. Boston is the only team in the majors that’s already locked up a playoff berth.

Mets 4-5, Marlins 3-2: Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the ninth inning, and New York stunned Miami 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader sweep in New York. Conforto drove in three more runs in the second game, and Jason Vargas pitched six effective innings to help the Mets win again.

Orioles 5, Athletics 3: Dylan Bundy had eight strikeouts in six solid innings, and Baltimore ended visiting Oakland’s six-game winning streak. Stephen Piscotty homered for the A’s. They fell 3 1/2 games behind first-place Houston in the A.L. West and 1 1/2 back of the Yankees for the top wild-card slot. Though he yielded his major league-high 38th home run, Bundy was good enough to help Baltimore snap a six-game skid and avoid being swept for the 22nd time.

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 3: Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered, Kyle Freeland pitched effectively into the seventh, and Colorado beat Arizona in Denver to extend its N.L. West lead.

David Dahl had three hits and two RBIs to help Colorado take a two-game lead over Los Angeles and a 4 1/2-game advantage over the third-place Diamondbacks. Los Angeles played later Thursday at St. Louis.

Diamondbacks right-hander Clay Buchholz was scratched from the start because of tightness in his right elbow. Matt Koch started in his place and allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings.

A.J. Pollock homered for Arizona. The Diamondbacks are 3-12 in September. They lost 5-4 on Wednesday night when DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the ninth inning.

Freeland allowed only two hits and one run through six innings before giving up a triple to Steven Souza Jr. and a double to Nick Ahmed in the seventh.

Cubs 4, Nationals 3 (10): Javier Baez drove in the go ahead run with a bunt single in the 10th inning, and Chicago beat the Nationals in Washington in a makeup of a game postponed earlier in the week.

Kris Bryant doubled with one out in the 10th against Sean Doolittle and moved to third on ex-National Daniel Murphy’s infield single. Baez, who homered in the sixth and drove in three on the day, bunted just to the right of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to score Bryant.

Baez has 31 homers and leads the N.L. with 103 RBIs.

Chicago stretched its lead in the N.L. Central to 1 1/2 games over idle Milwaukee.

Pedro Strop pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for Chicago, and Randy Rosario worked the 10th for his first career save. Spencer Kieboom homered for the Nationals.

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