ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Colton Cowser hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between the American League’s top teams.
Baltimore started the day in first place for the first time after the All-Star break since Aug, 15, 2016. The Orioles, who started July 6½ games back, now have a one-game lead.
Aaron Hicks opened the 10th at second as the automatic runner. He advanced on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s sacrifice bunt and scampered home on Cowser’s fly ball to left against Robert Stephenson (1-4).
Félix Bautista (5-1) worked a perfect ninth for Baltimore and then stayed on for the 10th. He hit Luke Raley and struck out Randy Arozarena before Brandon Lowe bounced into a game-ending double play.
Tampa Bay has lost five in a row. It is tied with Pittsburgh for the majors’ worst July record at 3-12.
BRAVES 7, DIAMONDBACKS 5
ATLANTA — Austin Riley hit a three-run homer off Miguel Castro in the eighth inning, and the major league-leading Braves stopped a four-game skid.
Matt Olson hit two more homers for Atlanta, raising his NL-best total to 32. Orlando Arcia also connected.
Riley followed Michael Harris II’s double and Ozzie Albies’ walk with his fourth homer of the three-game series and 20th of the season, putting Atlanta (62-33) ahead 6-5.
Dominic Canzone and Emmanuel Rivera hit back-to-back homers for Arizona in the seventh against Spencer Strider. Corbin Carroll added his 19th homer in the eighth.
Kirby Yates (4-0) got the win, and Raisel Iglesias earned his 17th save in 19 chances. Castro (5-4) was charged with the loss.
BREWERS 4, PHILLIES 0
PHILADELPHIA — Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in eight innings, leading Milwaukee to the victory.
Christian Yelich hit a three-run homer as Milwaukee closed out a 5-1 trip through Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Andruw Monasterio had two hits and scored two runs for the NL Central leaders.
Burnes (9-5) allowed two hits and walked one. The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner improved to 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four July starts.
Philadelphia starter Taijuan Walker (11-4) permitted four runs and six hits in six innings in his first loss since June 1.
The Phillies finished with two hits.
MARINERS 5, TWINS 0
SEATTLE — George Kirby matched his career high with 10 strikeouts over seven innings, helping the Mariners to the victory
Teoscar Hernández and Mike Ford homered as Seattle earned a split of the four-game set after it learned starting outfielder Jarred Kelenic will be out for an extended period after breaking a bone in his left foot.
Kirby (9-8) allowed four hits, and the 10 strikeouts matched his outing against Miami last month.
Minnesota’s Pablo López (5-6) struck out seven while pitching five innings of two-run ball.
Ford hit a two-run shot off reliever Jorge López in the eighth.
REDS 5, GIANTS 1
CINCINNATI — Andrew Abbott pitched a career-high eight innings and Luke Maile homered, sending Cincinnati to its second straight win.
Abbott (5-2) allowed one hit, struck out six and walked two in his ninth big league start. Derek Law finished the two-hitter, surrendering Wilmer Flores’ 12th homer in the ninth.
The Reds salvaged a split of the four-game set. They posted consecutive victories for the first time since a five-game winning streak from July 2-6.
San Francisco right-hander Alex Cobb (6-3) gave up five runs, a season-high nine hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
The Giants (54-43) remain tied with Arizona for second in the NL West, two games behind the Dodgers.
BLUE JAYS 4, PADRES 0
TORONTO — Chris Bassitt combined with three relievers on a six-hitter, and the Blue Jays avoided a three-game sweep.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk homered for Toronto, which managed just one run in the first two games of the series. Kirk went 3 for 3, and Whit Merrifield and Jordan Luplow each had two hits.
Bassitt (10-5) allowed four hits — all singles — in six innings. He has won his last three decisions.
It was Toronto’s 11th shutout of the season.
Padres left-hander Blake Snell (6-8), a possible trade target ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline, allowed one run in five innings. He struck out four and walked seven, matching his career worst.
CARDINALS 7, CUBS 2
CHICAGO — Jordan Walker and Paul DeJong each hit a two-run homer, and St. Louis earned its sixth straight victory.
Nolan Arenado drove in two runs and Steven Matz pitched five effective innings as St. Louis won for the the ninth time in 11 games overall. Paul Goldschmidt had two hits and scored two runs.
Marcus Stroman (10-7) pitched just 3 2/3 innings in possibly his final home start for the Cubs. The right-hander was charged with five runs — four earned — and seven hits.
Chicago (45-51) dropped to 7-9 in July, and Stroman could be one of the top pitchers on the market ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Matz (1-7) allowed one run and three hits in his first win since Sept. 17 against Cincinnati.
WHITE SOX 6, METS 2
NEW YORK — Yasmani Grandal started a four-run sixth inning with a two-run double that followed Pete Alonso’s error, and the White Sox spoiled José Quintana’s Mets debut.
Grandal doubled to the warning track in right after the White Sox loaded the bases against Drew Smith.
The inning started when Alonso backed up on a grounder by Luis Robert Jr. that bounced off his glove. The first baseman expressed his frustration by putting his head in his hands.
Quintana (0-1), a 34-year-old left-hander who pitched for the White Sox from 2012-17, signed a $26 million, two-year contract with the Mets as a free agent, then fractured a rib during spring training. He allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.
Michael Kopech (4-8) allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings, both to Omar Narváez, and got his first win since May 24.
TIGERS 3, ROYALS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Michael Lorenzen tossed seven innings of three-hit ball, and Detroit wrapped up another series win against its AL Central rival.
Lorenzen (5-6) increased his scoreless streak to 23 2/3 innings dating to June 30 at Colorado. The All-Star right-hander struck out three and walked one.
Tyler Holton worked a perfect eighth before Jason Foley handled the ninth for his fourth save.
Spencer Torkelson, Andy Ibañez and Eric Haase drove in runs for Detroit, which took three of four from the Royals for its fifth straight series win against them.
The Tigers scored twice off Zack Greinke (1-10) in the second before adding another run in the fifth, after the veteran right-hander had been removed from the game. Greinke allowed four hits in four innings in his first start since July 4.
ASTROS 3, ATHLETICS 1
OAKLAND, Calif. — Rookie J.P. France struck out five while pitching into the eighth inning for the first time this season to win his third straight decision, Kyle Tucker hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth, and Houston beat Oakland.
Alex Bregman homered in the ninth to help secure the win for France (5-3). The right-hander walked one and allowed one run on six hits for the Astros, starting the final series of a nine-game trip. Ryan Pressly earned his 22nd save of the season and the 99th of his career.
A’s starter Hogan Harris (2-4) struck out six over six innings without walking a batter. Seth Brown hit an RBI double in the first for Oakland.