Cardinals gain a game on punchless Braves

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The Braves were shutout by the Nationals in losing Sunday for the 10th time in their last 15 games, allowing the Cardinals to make up ground and climb to within one game in the wild card chase.

Atlanta lost this one 3-0 after dropping Saturday’s game 4-1.  Ross Detwiler tossed six scoreless innings and combined with three relievers on a four-hitter for his sixth big-league victory.  The Nationals got their three runs on homers from Wilson Ramos and Mike Morse.  The Braves, meanwhile, received nothing from their top four hitters, as Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla combined to go 0-for-16.

The Cards beat the Cubs for the second straight day, again by one run.  The Cubs went ahead 2-1 on a Starlin Castro single in the seventh, but the Cards responded with solo homers from Yadier Molina in the seventh and Rafael Furcal in the eighth to win.  Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Jason Motte combined to limit the Cubs to five hits.  Randy Wells was the hard-luck loser for Chicago, going the distance in a complete-game loss.

The Cards, now 88-71, will finish the season with a series in Houston.  MLB’s worst team, the Astros are 55-103 for the season, though they are 7-7 in their last 14 games.  The Braves, at 89-70, will finish at home against the struggling Phillies.  Philadelphia did win today to snap an eight-game losing streak, but the club has nothing to play for from here.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.