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Cubs blast Astros for home win

– Ryan Sweeney credited his teammates with helping him have one of his best days at the ballpark.

Sweeney had a career-high six RBI, including a three-run homer, and the Chicago Cubs routed the Houston Astros 14-6 on Sunday.

The center fielder drove in runs in each of his first four at-bats, capping the stretch with his longball to right-center. He also had two doubles and a run-scoring grounder in the second inning.

“Anytime you’re scoring 14 runs with 16 hits, it’s contagious,” said Sweeney, who started in place of the injured David DeJesus. “Everybody hit the ball great today and it was fun to watch.”

Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo added a two-run home run and finished 3 for 3 with four runs scored and four RBI.

Chicago scored its most runs and had its most hits (16) this season. All nine starters reached base for the Cubs.

“We have to give ourselves opportunities and eventually, somebody is going to come through,” Rizzo said. “So we just have to keep giving ourselves opportunities.”

The Cubs’ outburst helped erase a pair of errors from shortstop Starlin Castro, who now leads the majors with 14 errors this season. Castro has also struggled at the plate, with just 13 hits in his last 98 at-bats.

“The whole thing is not going real well right now so hopefully this day off can recharge him and get things going in Milwaukee,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Castro.

Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (5-7) won his second straight, with five strikeouts and no walks.

PIRATES 10, ANGELS 9, 10 inn.: In Anaheim, Calif., Pedro Alvarez homered for the fourth straight game, Starling Marte capped a three-run ninth inning with a tying single, and Pittsburgh added four more in the 10th to complete its first interleague sweep on the road.


ROYALS 7, WHITE SOX 6: In Kansas City, Mo., the Kansas City Royals took advantage of a pair of errors to score three times in the eighth inning and avoided a three-game sweep.

The Royals trailed by two when they got consecutive singles by Mike Moustakas and David Lough off ace White Sox reliever Jesse Crain (2-2) to start the eighth. An error by Crain while trying to field a bunt by Elliot Johnson loaded the bases with nobody out.

Crain struck out George Kottaras and Jarrod Dyson to breathe a bit easier, but he walked Alex Gordon to get Kansas City within a run. Alcides Esocbar then slapped a grounder to shortstop that Alexei Ramirez let through to left field, bringing in the go-ahead runs.

TWINS 5, INDIANS 3: In Cleveland, emergency starter Pedro Hernandez gave up two runs in five innings as Minnesota avoided a three-game sweep.

Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Rochester when scheduled starter Mike Pelfrey was scratched because of a strained back and placed on the 15-day disabled list.

RAYS 3, YANKEES 1: In New York, James Loney hit a tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning, and Chris Archer pitched six innings of one-run ball for his first win in three starts since June 7 as Tampa Bay earned a split in the four-game series.

BLUE JAYS 13, ORIOLES 5: In Toronto, Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs, Josh Johnson earned his first win of the season and Toronto matched a team record by winning its 11th straight game.


REDS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 2: In Phoenix, Mat Latos, a former TinCap, matched his career high with 13 strikeouts as Cincinnati salvaged the finale of its three-game series.

Latos (7-1) gave up a run on six hits with one walk in 7 2-3 innings. Latos, coming off his first loss in 21 starts, didn’t strike anyone out in the first two innings, then fanned 13 over the next 5 2/3 .

METS 8, PHILLIES 0: In Philadelphia, David Wright homered, tripled and matched a New York record with four extra-base hits to back the latest splendid start by Matt Harvey.

Harvey (7-1) gave up two hits in six innings and struck out six to earn consecutive wins for the first time since mid-April.

ROCKIES 7, NATIONALS 6: In Washington, Michael Cuddyer homered in his first at-bat to extend the major league’s longest hitting streak this season to 21 games, and the right fielder went 3 for 4 with four RBI to lead Colorado.

BRAVES 7, BREWERS 4: In Milwaukee, Brian McCann hit a grand slam, and Chris Johnson and Jordan Schafer each hit solo home runs to lift Atlanta.

DODGERS 3, PADRES 1: In San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to lift Los Angeles.

MARLINS 7, GIANTS 2: Justin Ruggiano hit a leadoff homer and capped the game with a two-run shot in the ninth inning to lead Miami to its 10th win in its last 11 games in San Francisco.