Best of MLB: Cody Bellinger hits for cycle, makes Dodgers history in win over Marlins

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Best of MLB: Cody Bellinger hits for cycle, makes Dodgers history in win over Marlins

MIAMI -- Cody Bellinger became the first Dodgers rookie to hit for the cycle and Alex Wood became the first Dodgers pitcher in more than a century to win his first 11 decisions in a season, helping the NL West leaders beat the Miami Marlins 7-1 Saturday night for their eighth straight victory.

Bellinger singled in the first inning, hit a two-run homer in the third, added an RBI double in the fourth and hit his second career triple on the first pitch of the seventh. His triple off Nick Wittgren barely cleared the glove of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who tried to making a running backhanded catch.

Wood (11-0) struck out 10 in six scoreless innings, allowed only four baserunners and lowered his ERA to 1.56 in 16 games this year.

An angry Yasiel Puig took several steps toward the mound after he was nearly hit by a pitch from Miami's Jose Urena in the first inning. Puig hit two home runs in Los Angeles' win Friday, including a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth inning (see full recap).

Yankees top Red Sox 4-1 in 16th; Boston plays under protest
BOSTON -- Didi Gregorius lined a go-ahead single in the 16th inning and the New York Yankees outlasted the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Saturday in the longest game between the bitter rivals at Fenway Park since 1966.

Matt Holliday hit a tying home run off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, and it took 5 hours, 50 minutes and 512 pitches to finish. That is, if it's really over -- the Red Sox put the game under protest after a bizarre play on the bases involving Holliday in the 11th.

Both teams burned through their bullpens, and the relievers won't get much rest. The Yankees and the AL East-leading Red Sox are set for a day-night doubleheader Sunday.

Boston starter Chris Sale struck out 13 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings of three-hit ball. Yankees starter Luis Severino allowed one run and four hits in seven innings.

Ben Heller (2-0) went two innings. Doug Fister (0-3) gave up three runs in the 16th.

A day after Yankees blew a ninth-inning lead and lost, they rallied. Boston had been 43-0 when leading after eight (see full recap).

Bruce, Lugo power Mets to 9-3 win over reeling Rockies
NEW YORK -- Jay Bruce and pitcher Seth Lugo homered during an early barrage that sent the New York Mets past Colorado 9-3 on Saturday night for their second straight lopsided victory over the reeling Rockies out of the All-Star break.

Jose Reyes also went deep and Lucas Duda had a two-run double as New York took full advantage of an injury that knocked wild Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood from the game in the first inning. Lugo (4-2) worked into the seventh with a big lead, but Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes left early after slamming his right knee into the ground while trying to make a sliding catch.

Chatwood (6-11) got only one out and threw just five of 19 pitches for strikes while walking three of the five batters he faced. After giving up Bruce's three-run shot to straightaway center field, the right-hander was checked on the mound by manager Bud Black and a trainer.

Chatwood made three wide practice pitches and was replaced by lefty Chris Rusin, who got all the time he needed to warm up on the mound. There was no immediate word on what specifically was bothering Chatwood, but his quick departure stressed Colorado's bullpen once again after Jon Gray lasted only two-plus innings in a 14-2 defeat the night before (see full recap).

Sanchez hits 1st career walk-off as Padres down Giants
SAN DIEGO -- Hector Sanchez hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning and the San Diego Padres beat San Francisco 5-3 on Saturday night to spoil the return of Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

Bumgarner pitched seven innings in his first start since being injured in a dirt bike accident three months ago. He left with the score tied at 3 after allowing four hits, including home runs by Matt Szczur and Jabari Blash, while striking out five and walking two.

Blash started the winning rally when he singled leading off the ninth against Cory Gearrin (3-3) and advanced on Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt against Steven Okert. Sanchez then drove a pitch off the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner for the win. It was his fourth. Sanchez started at catcher because Austin Hedges was held out as a precaution after taking a foul ball off his mask on Friday night.

Brandon Maurer (1-4) pitched the ninth for the win (see full recap).

Best of MLB: D-backs clinch top wild card spot with walk-off win over Marlins

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Best of MLB: D-backs clinch top wild card spot with walk-off win over Marlins

PHOENIX -- J.D. Martinez lined a two-out RBI single to deep left field with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Sunday to clinch the top wild card in the National League.

The Diamondbacks, who won only 69 games a year ago but are 90-66 this season, were assured a playoff berth in the fourth inning after St. Louis and Milwaukee lost. The comeback victory ensured Arizona will host the NL wild-card game Oct. 4.

Fernando Rodney (5-4) pitched a perfect inning for the win.

A throwing error by Justin Nicolino (2-3) on Kristopher Negron's sacrifice bunt helped load the bases with no outs in the ninth (see full recap).

Cubs close in on NL Central title behind Quintana's 3-hit shoutout
MILWAUKEE -- Jose Quintana pitched a three-hitter for his second big league shutout, and the Chicago Cubs beat Milwaukee 5-0 Sunday to close in on a second straight NL Central title and damage the Brewers' playoff hopes.

Coming off its first World Series title since 1908, Chicago (87-68) won three of four in the weekend series and opened a 5-game lead over the second-place Brewers (82-73) with seven games remaining. Milwaukee began the day one game behind Colorado for the NL's second wild card.

Quintana (7-3 with Cubs, 11-11 overall) struck out 10 and walked one in his second complete game in 182 starts. He threw 116 pitches, his most since Sept. 7 last year.

He did not allow any extra-base hits and retired his final 11 batters after walking Domingo Santana in the sixth (see full recap).

Rockies beat Padres to open 2-game lead for last wild card
SAN DIEGO -- Gerardo Parra hit a tiebreaking single in a two-run third inning, Pat Valaika and Charlie Blackmon hit consecutive home runs in the ninth and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 8-4 Sunday to open a two-game lead over Milwaukee for the second NL wild card heading into the final week of the regular season.

St. Louis trails the Rockies by 2 games. Seeking its first postseason appearance since 2009, Colorado opens a six-game homestand Monday, playing Miami and then the Los Angeles Dodgers. At 41-40, the Rockies tied their record for road wins, set in 2009.

German Marquez (11-7) allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in five innings. He had been 0-2 in six starts since beating Milwaukee on Aug. 18. Colorado starters have a 2.52 ERA in their last nine games (see full recap).

Twins top Tigers for 4-game sweep, close on wild card
DETROIT -- Jorge Polanco and Eduardo Escobar homered, and Minnesota beat the Detroit Tigers 10-4 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep that moved the Twins closer to securing a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

Polanco hit a solo homer in the first off Buck Farmer (4-5), and Escobar welcomed Victor Alcantara with a three-run drive in the sixth.

Minnesota (82-74) began the day 4 games ahead of Kansas City, Texas and the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card. The Twins outscored the Tigers 39-12 in the sweep.

Detroit has lost seven straight and 14 of 16. At 62-94, the Tigers will finish with their worst record since going 43-119 in 2003 (see full recap).

Nick Pivetta continues build toward strong finish in Phillies' win over Braves

Nick Pivetta continues build toward strong finish in Phillies' win over Braves

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ATLANTA — The Phillies and Atlanta Braves are both rebuilding teams that have looked to acquire as much pitching as possible over the last few seasons.

The Phillies added Nick Pivetta in the trade that sent Jonathan Papelbon to Washington two years ago. The Braves picked up Luiz Gohara from Seattle back in January.

If both pitchers continue to develop, there's a chance they could face each other in a National League division race someday. 

On Sunday, they squared off in a battle of teams playing out the string, but the intensity of the matchup was good. That can happen in the penultimate weekend of the season. After all, impressions can be made right up until the final pitch of the season. Players are always auditioning, especially rookies hoping to win spots next season.

Pivetta, 24, made a very nice showing. He out-pitched Gohara in helping the Phillies salvage one game of the three-game series against the Braves with a 2-0 win (see observations).

Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr keyed a just-enough Phillies' offense with a solo homer and an RBI double and the bullpen triumvirate of Edubray Ramos, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris combined for three scoreless innings to seal the shutout.

Pivetta pitched six shutout innings, walked one and struck out four. He gave up five hits. It's been an up-and-down season for the rookie right-hander. There's been a lot of on-the-job training and a few bruisings. He is 7-10 with a 6.26 ERA in 25 starts. He has allowed just two runs in 12 innings over his last two starts, so he's finishing the season on a high note.

"The key to his outing today was that he was throwing all his pitches for strikes," manager Pete Mackanin said. "His breaking ball and his changeup, he really did a good job with them, throwing them ahead in the count and behind in the count, so that was key.

"This is the place to learn. You can have a lot of success in the minor leagues but when you get up here it's a different animal. The best place to learn is at the big-league level and take your lumps and learn from them. Now, if you have too many guys like that you don’t win a lot of games, so you can afford to have one or maybe two guys in the rotation that are feeling their way through it, but not more than that."

Forced to the majors by injuries in the rotation early in the season, Pivetta has often talked about the learning experience his first year in the majors has been.

He was happy to talk about getting a victory Sunday.

"It's been nice," he said. "I've settled down a little the last two starts. Today, I just tried to do the right things — get ahead of hitters. And the guys played great defense behind me.

"Even when I had runners on base, I was able to attack the hitters the way I wanted and I didn't put too much pressure on myself."

That's not always easy for a rookie pitcher in a close game. Pivetta's ability to stay cool and pitch around baserunners in the fifth and sixth innings was a sign of his improvement. He will have one more start before the season ends and is looking to build on two good ones and go into the offseason with a healthy dose of confidence. He will be a candidate for a spot in the rotation next spring.

Sunday's victory left the Phillies at 62-94. They need to win one of their final six games to avoid 100 losses. That once seemed to be a certainty, but they have played well since the All-Star break, recording a 33-36 record since then. They were 29-58 before the break.

Young players such as Nick Williams and Rhys Hoskins have come up from the minors and given the Phils a lift in recent weeks. The bullpen has also improved with Ramos, Morgan, Neris and Luis Garcia (before Saturday night) pitching well. Morgan pitched a scoreless eighth inning Sunday. He has allowed just two runs over his last 24 innings. That covers 18 appearances since Aug. 2. Neris is 18 for 18 in save opportunities since June 28.

The only run that the Phils scored against Gohara came in the fifth when Franco smacked a first-pitch changeup into the left-field seats for his 21st homer. The pitch was on the middle-half of the plate, Franco's happy zone.

Franco is hitting .308 with three homers and seven RBIs since J.P. Crawford came up and applied a little competitive heat.

Franco said that's coincidence, that he's focused only on what he needs to do to get better.

"I think when those young guys come up it always creates an energy spurt in everybody," Mackanin said. "For whatever reason, if Maikel is having a good September, I hope it carries through for five or six months next year. One month does not a good year make. Hopefully, he'll have a better approach and he's going to be more successful."