Cubs rack up sweep of Pirates, Contreras fires

The Chicago Cubs continued their dominance as they completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Willson Contreras being the story of the night as he launched his first Major League pitch for a two-run homer.

The catching prospect’s dramatic introduction was one of five homers for the Cubs as Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell also went long.

The St Louis Cardinals – splitting the pace-setting Cubs and the Pirates in second place in the National League Central – lost 5-4 to the Texas Rangers, who stretched their lead in the American League West to 8.5 games.

Texas’ Mitch Moreland and Nomar Mazara and the Cards’ Stephen Piscotty and Matt Holliday went deep before Jurickson Profar’s two-run single won it for the Rangers.

Their nearest pursuers the Seattle Mariners lost 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox after Mookie Betts’ clinching homer and David Price giving up only one run in eight innings.

Boston trail the Baltimore Orioles by one game in the AL East after the latter won 11-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop driving in seven of the runs including a two-run homer apiece.

The Cleveland Indians, top of the AL Central, completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox as Jose Ramirez’s walk-off single clinched a 3-2 win on Sunday.

The Kansas City Royals stayed tight on Cleveland’s tail but had to go even deeper as Chesler Cuthbert’s walk-off single in the 13th inning earned a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers, now 4.5 games off the division summit in third.

The Minnesota Twins beat the New York Yankees 7-4, the Houston Astros won 6-0 over the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 2-0 and the Tampa Bay Rays lost 5-1 to NL West leaders the San Francisco Giants.

Six innings of one-run ball from Jake Peavy and a Brandon Belt homer earned the Giants’ eighth straight win. Nearest pursuers the Los Angeles Dodgers responded with a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Miami Marlins won 3-0 against the Colorado Rockies to eat into the Washington Nationals’ lead of the AL East as the Nats lost 6-3 to the San Diego Padres.

Miami’s win came on Tom Koehler’s six scoreless innings and Marcell Ozuna’s three-run blast while Washington were beaten despite two homers from Michael Taylor, including the first pitch of the match, and one from Danny Espinosa.

The Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 and the Arizona Diamondbacks won 5-1 against the Philadelphia Phillies.