DETROIT — Max Scherzer struck out 14 batters in eight shutout innings, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Scherzer (14-4), last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, held Pittsburgh to three hits and two walks. Since June 22, he is 6-1 in 10 starts with a 1.78 ERA and 85 strikeouts.
Scherzer’s performance and a homer from J.D. Martinez gave the Tigers a much-needed sweep of the two-game set and a split of the four games in the home-and-home series that started Monday in Pittsburgh.
Francisco Liriano (3-9) took a tough loss for Pittsburgh, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out nine, but wasn’t able to match Scherzer’s brilliance.
Nick Castellanos had a two-run single in a three-run eighth. That became important when Gaby Sanchez hit a two-run homer off Phil Coke in the ninth.
ROYALS 7, ATHLETICS 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nori Aoki and Billy Butler each drove in two runs during a five-run seventh inning that rallied surging Kansas City past Oakland.
The Royals (66-54) have won 18 of 22 to move 12 games above .500 for the first time since July 20, 2003. Kansas City took the season series, winning five of seven against the Athletics, who have the best record in the majors at 73-48.
Aoki’s two-run triple put the Royals ahead 5-3. Butler’s single scored Aoki and Alcides Escobar.
Jeff Samardzija (3-2) took the loss, giving up four runs — three earned — and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. He left with a 3-2 lead, but Ryan Cook failed to hold it. Cook faced three batters and all of them scored, ending his streak of 21 consecutive shutout innings.
Aaron Crow (6-1), the third of six Kansas City pitchers, retired his only batter. Greg Holland got two outs for his 36th save in 38 opportunities.
DODGERS 6, BRAVES 4
ATLANTA — Drew Butera hit a two-run homer, his first in almost three months, and Roberto Hernandez threw six strong innings against slumping Atlanta to earn his first win with Los Angeles.
Hernandez (7-8), making his second start since his trade from the Phillies last week, allowed one run on three hits and four walks in six innings.
Kenley Jansen struck out B.J. Upton with runners on second and third for his 34th save.
BREWERS 6, CUBS 2
CHICAGO — Mike Fiers struck out a career-high 14 through six innings of three-hit ball, and Milwaukee beat Chicago to widen its NL Central lead.
Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds homered for the Brewers, who broke out of their recent slump at the plate despite resting Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Jean Segura. Braun was held out of the lineup with a sore right hand.
Scooter Gennett drove in two runs with a double.
NATIONALS 4, METS 1
NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg bounced back from a poor start to pitch seven efficient innings, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche each hit a two-run homer, and Washington beat New York to set a franchise record with its 11th consecutive win on the road against one team.
The Mets’ 11 straight losses to Washington in Queens are their most against one club at home. New York dropped 10 in a row to the Braves at Shea Stadium from 1991-92.
Strasburg (9-10) gave up three hits and an unearned run, improving to 2-8 in 13 road starts this season. He struck out eight and walked two.
CARDINALS 4, PADRES 3
ST. LOUIS — Pinch-hitter Jon Jay delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning and right fielder Shane Robinson threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth to help St. Louis hold off San Diego.
Jhonny Peralta hit an early two-run homer for the Cardinals, who moved into second place in the NL Central. St. Louis remained two games behind division-leading Milwaukee.
Trailing by two in the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases with one out against closer Trevor Rosenthal. Pinch-hitter Jake Goebbert came through with an RBI single to right, but Alexi Amarista was cut down at home when he tried to score from second.
The replay review lasted 4 minutes, 9 seconds. Padres manager Bud Black then was ejected for continuing to argue the call.
After a four-pitch walk to Will Venable loaded the bases again, Rosenthal struck out Tommy Medica for his 36th save.
ROCKIES 7, REDS 3
DENVER — Charlie Culberson hit his first homer in more than a month — a three-run shot in the fifth — and Jorge De La Rosa pitched seven effective innings to lift Colorado over Cincinnati.
De La Rosa (12-8) allowed three runs and five hits. He improved to 8-2 at Coors Field this season. The lefty has gone at least six innings in 10 straight starts.
Reds All-Star Alfredo Simon (12-8) is winless in six starts since the break. He allowed seven runs — five earned — and a season-high 10 hits in five innings.
MARLINS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4, 10 INNINGS
MIAMI — Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones in the 10th inning to give Miami a victory over Arizona.
Ozuna’s line drive to left-center came off Bradin Hagens (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Hagens got a double play to escape the ninth, but Jones reached on a leadoff walk in the 10th and scored two batters later.
Mike Dunn (10-5) pitched two perfect innings for Miami and became the first reliever to reach double digits in wins since Matt Belisle for Colorado in 2011, according to STATS.
RED SOX 9, ASTROS 4
BOSTON — Dustin Pedroia’s two-run double capped a seven-run sixth inning that sent Boston past Houston for its fourth straight win.
Pedroia finished with three hits, Daniel Nava had two doubles and David Ortiz added two singles as the Red Sox improved to 8-0 at Fenway Park against the Astros.
Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer for Houston, which opened a 10-game road trip with its fourth loss in five games.
RAYS 6, RANGERS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas — Evan Longoria homered and drove in three runs, and Jake Odorizzi helped extend Tampa Bay’s impressive road pitching streak with seven strong innings against Texas.
Longoria’s team-leading 15th homer was a two-run shot that gave the Rays a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Logan Forsythe had a two-run homer to put the Rays in front to stay in the second.
Odorizzi (9-9) struck out seven to help give the Rays their AL-record 18th consecutive road game without allowing more than three runs.