Best of MLB: Cubs power their way to win over Pirates


CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and David Ross each homered to back Jon Lester and lead the Chicago Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

The major league-leading Cubs (46-20) improved to a season-high 26 games above .500 while the Pirates lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Lester (9-3) won his fifth straight start. Rizzo and Bryant each hit their 16th home run, and Ross made it 4-3 with a solo drive in the sixth that chased Jonathon Niese (6-4). The Cubs won again even though Dexter Fowler left the game because of discomfort in his right hamstring.

Lester went six innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out seven and walked three after issuing none in his previous three starts.

Hector Rondon got the final four outs for his 12th save (see full recap).

Inciarte sprints lift Braves over Mets, 4th straight win
NEW YORK -- Ender Inciarte sprinted to third when Curtis Granderson lazily threw the ball back to the infield after an eighth-inning flyout and scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch that bounced only 10 feet from home plate, boosting the Atlanta Braves over the New York Mets 4-3 Saturday night.

Atlanta overcame a 3-0 deficit and hung on in a wild ninth to beat the Mets for the second straight night and match its longest winning streak this year at four games. Jeff Francoeur and Tyler Flowers hit solo shots for the Braves, who have just 31 home runs this season - 26 fewer than any other big league team (see full recap).

Orioles snap Blue Jays' 4-game streak with victory
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles got the most of out of Manny Machado in his final game before a four-game suspension for charging the mound.

Machado had three hits, scored a run and played flawlessly in his return to third base, and the Orioles beat Toronto 4-2 Saturday to end the Blue Jays' four-game winning streak.

After the game, Machado said he would drop the appeal of his suspension for running down Kansas City right-hander Yordano Ventura after being struck by a 99 mph fastball on June 8.

The two-time All-Star will miss games Sunday through Thursday.

"We've got this process. It's done and over," Machado said. "I'll sit down for the four games and be ready to help this team get to the playoffs."

J.J. Hardy came off the disabled list and returned to shortstop for Baltimore. Machado, who had been playing the position during Hardy's absence, shifted back to third base (see full recap).

Rangers overcome three-run deficit, beat Cardinals
ST. LOUIS -- The Texas Rangers had to rally late, and their reward was a place in the franchise record books.

Ian Desmond had a sacrifice fly to cap a ninth-inning rally and the Rangers overcame a late three-run deficit to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Saturday and win a team-record ninth consecutive series.

The Rangers beat the Cardinals 1-0 on Friday to begin the three-game set and have won seven of eight and 13 of 16. Their 44-25 mark is the best in team history after 69 games.

"It's special in that it's a conversation piece for everybody," Banister said. "But, I don't think they're going to give away any badges that say `these are the most series wins in the history of the franchise.' We're just going to continue to play the game of baseball the way we have been."

The Rangers scored two runs in each of the eighth and ninth innings on Saturday and are an AL-best 15-4 in one-run games (see full recap).

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