Gant homers, pitches Cardinals past Pirates

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Harrison Bader and John Gant hit back-to-back home runs, Gant pitched into the sixth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 on Thursday night.

Gant (6-5) pitched out of a bases-loaded situation in the first and a two-on, no-out jam in the third to win for the third time in his last four tries. He struck out six in 5 2/3 innings and has allowed one earned run in his last 12 2/3 innings.

Pirates starter Joe Musgrove (5-8) opened the game with 21 consecutive strikes, a first in the majors since pitch tracking began in 1988, according to Stats. That control didn’t do him much good, though. He gave up five runs in six innings.

Cubs 5, Braves 4

ATLANTA (AP) — Tommy La Stella hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career against his former team, carrying the Chicago Cubs over Atlanta.

La Stella, who got his start with the Braves organization, made it a fruitful layover. After Atlanta went ahead with a three-run fifth, the infielder launched a two-run shot off Mike Foltynewicz that nearly reached the Chop House restaurant above the right-field seats .

Brewers 2, Reds 1

CINCINNATI (AP) — Lorenzo Cain hit a home run off the top of the left field fence in the 11th inning and Milwaukee, a day after winning a slugfest that went extras, edged Cincinnati.

NL batting leader Christian Yelich went 0 for 4 with a bases-loaded walk for Milwaukee. On Wednesday night, he went 6 for 6 and hit for the cycle as the Brewers outlasted Cincinnati 13-12 in 10 innings.

Indians 5, Twins 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer that broke a sixth-inning tie and sent Cleveland over Minnesota.

The AL Central-leading Indians opened a 14-game lead over second-place Minnesota. Cleveland is 31-11 against division opponents, and needed this win to beat the Twins 10-9 in the season series.

Kipnis’ high drive off reliever Alan Busenitz barely cleared the wall in right field and capped a four-run inning.

Astros extend Hinch’s contract

HOUSTON (AP) — The World Series champion Houston Astros have rewarded manager A.J. Hinch with a new contract that extends his run in the dugout through the 2022 season.

Hinch’s contract had been set to expire after this year.

The 44-year-old Hinch guided Houston to its first World Series title last season. The Astros led the AL West by 2 1/2 games over Oakland going into Thursday night’s home game against the Angels.

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