Ian Desmond provided an instant spark for the slumping Rockies in his return from the disabled list, and Nolan Arenado hit one of Colorado’s three homers Sunday during a 13-4 rout of Steven Matz and the New York Mets. Charlie Blackmon was credited with an inside-the-park home run and Gerardo Parra also went deep to help the Rockies win for only the sixth time in 21 games. Despite the recent slide, Colorado began the day with a five and a half-game lead in the race for the second NL wild card.
It’s hard to believe the Los Angeles Dodgers were a second-place ballclub six weeks ago. They now own baseball’s best record and are threatening to run away with the National League West.
Justin Turner hit a first-inning homer and the Dodgers earned their ninth consecutive win by holding off the Marlins, 3-2 in Miami. Turner also hit a sacrifice fly and raised his batting average to .374 while helping Los Angeles move 35 games over .500 for the first time since 1977.
Rich Hill combined with four relievers to record 16 strikeouts and no walks. Kenley Jansen worked out of an eighth-inning jam before nailing down his 23rd save.
The Dodgers have compiled a major league-leading 11 series sweeps and have won 29 of their last 33 to improve to 64-29, 10 1/2 games ahead of Arizona in the NL West.
The Diamondbacks absorbed their fifth straight loss and 11th in 14 games as Matt Kemp’s three-run blast powered the Braves to a 7-1 win and a three-game sweep of Arizona. Brandon Phillips doubled three times and Jaime Garcia worked seven strong innings to help Atlanta reach the .500 mark for the first time since April 17. The Braves reached Zack Godley for seven runs over six innings and stayed 9 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox split a pair with the New York Yankees.
CC Sabathia looked sharp as the Yankees took the opener, 3-0. Sabathia limited Boston to a pair of hits over six innings as the Yanks stretched the Bosox’s scoreless streak to 22 innings since Saturday’s 16-inning marathon at Fenway Park. Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer for the Bombers.
Boston’s shutout streak ended at 24 innings when Mookie Betts slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to lead a 3-0 shutout of New York. David Price avoided his usual troubles with the Yankees, allowing seven hits and no walks while striking out eight over eight innings.
Boston now tops the AL East by three games over Tampa Bay and 3 ½ games over the Yanks.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Cubs completed a three-game sweep and pulled within 4 1/2 games of the NL Central lead by routing the Orioles, 8-0. Jose Quintana was outstanding in his Cubs debut as he three-hit the Birds while striking out a season-high 12 over seven innings. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo homered for Chicago, which finished with 10 round-trippers in the series and moved over .500 for the first time since June 29.
— The Phillies trimmed Milwaukee’s lead in the NL Central as Nick Williams launched a grand slam in the sixth inning to lead a 5-2 triumph over the Brewers. Four relievers combined to shut out the Brewers over the final four innings escaping jams in the eighth and ninth when Milwaukee had the potential tying run at the plate.
— The Rays lost a half-game to Boston in the AL East standings after pinch hitter C.J. Cron connected for a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning of the Angels’ 4-3 verdict over Tampa Bay. Cron’s blast came one inning after Logan Morrison hit his 26th homer, a two-run drive that tied it in the seventh. The Rays scored once in the ninth and loaded the bases with one out before Bud Norris got Tim Beckham to ground into a double play.
— The Athletics completed a three-game sweep by chasing Trevor Bauer in the first inning of a 7-3 win against the Indians. Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman hit two-run singles in the first off Bauer, who struck out a career-high 14 over seven innings of his previous start against Oakland on May 30. Matt Joyce had three hits and two RBIs against the sputtering Indians, losers four straight.
— Lorenzo Cain delivered a sun-aided, RBI single with two out in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Royals past the Rangers, 4-3. Cain’s routine fly ball became the game-winning hit after outfielder Shin-Soo Choo lost it in the sun despite wearing shades and shielding his eyes. Kansas City ended a five-game losing streak and climbed within two games of the AL Central lead.
— Mike Fiers struck out a season-high 11 over seven strong innings to pitch Houston past Minnesota, 5-3. The Twins led 3-2 until Nori Aoki hit a two-run double in the fourth to help the Astros take the rubber match of the series. The Twins remain 1 ½ games behind the AL Central-leading Indians, while the Astros pace the AL West by 15 ½ games over Texas.
— The Nationals slammed five home runs and earned their fourth straight win by thumping the Reds, 14-4. Daniel Murphy supplied a pair of round-trippers and five RBIs, while Adam Lind and Jose Lobaton added two-run shots. Anthony Rendon (rehn-DOHN’) also went deep for the Nats, who have homered 10 times in the series heading into the rare Monday wrapround finale.
— Nelson Cruz led off the 10th inning with a solo homer to complete the Mariners’ comeback from a 5-0 deficit in a 7-6 victory over the White Sox. Danny Valencia and Kyle Seager also went deep as Seattle completed a three-game sweep and won its fourth in a row. Chicago wasted two homers by Avisail Garcia.
— The Pirates beat the Cardinals, 4-3 on Adam Frazier’s game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth. St. Louis carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth before Jordy Mercer laced an RBI double and scored the winning run. Yadier Molina had put the Redbirds up 3-2 with an eighth inning home run, the first allowed by Juan Nicasio this year.
— Miguel Cabrera worked out a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 11th to complete the Tigers’ 6-5 win over the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista’s two-run homer put Toronto ahead 5-4 in the fifth, but J.D. Martinez tied the score when he homered on Danny Barnes’ first pitch of the eighth.
— Hector Sanchez and Corey Spangenberg clubbed three-run homers off Jeff Samardzija to highlight the Padres’ 7-1 romp over the Giants. Spangenberg also tripled in the third and scored on Erick Aybar’s double. Samardzija is tied for the National League lead with 11 losses after contributing to the Giants’ sixth setback in seven games.