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Time to move on: Cards put loss behind them as Dodgers loom

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Photographs by AP/BILLY HURST

Pablo Reyes (left) of the Pittsburgh Pirates slides past St. Louis Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly during the Pirates’ 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on Wednesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS -- A small bump in the road.

That's how St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong described Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"At this point, we're flushing this one," DeJong said. "And getting ready for L.A."

The Cardinals begin a key four-game series against the Dodgers today. St. Louis leads Los Angeles by two games for the second National League wild card. The Dodgers beat the Reds 8-1 on Wednesday.

The Cardinals (81-65) are 34-19 under new Manager Mike Shildt. They have the most wins in the NL after the All-Star break with 33.

Outfielder Harrison Bader is confident St. Louis can break its two-year postseason drought.

"The best time to play our best baseball is towards the end of the season," Bader said. "And I think we're right there. Pitching, defense, offense, I couldn't be more excited for these last few games."

Outfielder Tyler O'Neill agreed: "We've been playing great in the late innings and had a lot of walk-offs this year. Unfortunately, we couldn't get it done tonight. But we'll be ready for what lies ahead."

Jameson Taillon (13-9) allowed 2 runs and 4 hits in 7 innings Wednesday, leaving with a 4-1 lead after the first two Cardinals reached in the eighth. He has held opponents to three earned runs or less in his past 19 starts, the second-longest streak in the NL behind New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom with 26.

"His command and his control were at a premium," Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle said. "All of his pitches were in good sequence. It was all part of the package."

Taillon has gone seven innings or more seven times this season and has limited opponents to two runs or fewer in all of those outings.

"Having a slider helps. It's something else I can throw," Taillon said.

Jose Martinez hit into a run-scoring force out in the eighth inning against Felipe Vazquez, who allowed Patrick Wisdom's run-scoring single in the ninth. Vazquez rebounded to strike out DeJong and Matt Carpenter with two on to end the game for his 22nd consecutive save and 32nd in 36 chances this year.

"He went to next-level stuff," said Pittsburgh catcher Jacob Stallings, who drove in three runs. "To get those two punch-outs against those quality hitters was pretty spectacular."

Pittsburgh has won six of eight. The Pirates won 11 in a row from July 11-24.

Daniel Poncedeleon (0-2), making his fourth start for St. Louis, allowed 2 runs and 5 hits in 5 innings.

Marcell Ozuna had a run-scoring single in the first for the Cardinals, but Stallings hit a sacrifice fly in the second, Jordan Luplow had a go-ahead single in the third, and Stallings boosted the lead to 4-1 with a two-run single off Mike Mayers in the sixth.

Cardinals infielder Jedd Gyorko was activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to the game. He had been bothered by a left groin strain. Catcher Yadier Molina remained out with a sore hamstring.

DODGERS 8, REDS 1 Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner drove in three runs apiece, and visiting Los Angeles beat Cincinnati to avoid a season sweep by the last-place Reds. Joc Pederson homered for the Dodgers, and Grandal had three hits. Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett went 1 for 4, keeping his league-leading batting average at .321. Left-hander Caleb Ferguson (6-2), the third of seven Dodgers pitchers, struck out three in the fifth.

BRAVES 2, GIANTS 1 Pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, and Atlanta moved closer to clinching the NL East title with a victory at San Francisco. The Giants lost their 11th in a row, the worst skid since the team moved to San Francisco and the longest for the franchise since 1951. The Braves reduced their magic number for winning the division to 11 with their fifth victory in a row, matching their best streak of the season, and clinched their first winning record since their last division crown in 2013.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

RAYS 3, INDIANS 1 Blake Snell took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and got his major league-leading 19th win, leading Tampa Bay over Cleveland. Snell (19-5) lost his bid when Jose Ramirez led off the seventh with his 38th home run. Snell won his team-record seventh start in a row, striking out 9 and walking 2 in 7 innings. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 16 consecutive home starts.

ASTROS 5, TIGERS 4 George Springer made a diving catch in the eighth inning to help preserve Houston's lead, and the Astros swept a series at Comerica Park in Detroit for the first time. The Tigers had a man on first with two outs in the eighth when Dawel Lugo hit a line drive down the line in right field. Springer made a diving catch. If he had missed and the ball had skipped past, the tying run would have scored. It was the 13th series sweep of the season for the Astros, who have won 10 of their past 11 games. Gerrit Cole (14-5) allowed 2 runs and 3 hits in 5 innings. He walked four and struck out nine.

INTERLEAGUE

PADRES 5, MARINERS 4 Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe hit long home runs, and visiting San Diego held on to beat Seattle and finish off a two-game sweep. The Mariners have lost 10 of 15 since Aug. 26 to fall out of contention for the AL wild card.

Yairo Munoz of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third base to score a run on Patrick Wisdom’s RBI single during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game.

Pittsburgh right fielder Jordan Luplow went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI on Wednesday to lead the Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis ...

Sports on 09/13/2018

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