There are only two weeks remaining on the 2013 regular season schedule and the National League Central remains a heated three-team race.
The Cardinals couldn’t solve Mariners left-hander James Paxton on Saturday night in St. Louis and fell 4-1. The Pirates beat the Cubs 2-1 in an afternoon game at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park with young righty Gerrit Cole twirling a gem. The Reds also played in the afternoon and stomped the Brewers 7-3 in Milwaukee behind big offensive days from Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh are now tied for first place in the division with the exact same record (86-62) and the Reds are just 2 1/2 games back at 84-65. The teams that finish second and third will likely meet in the National League Wild Card Game.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Yankees 1, Red Sox 5
Reds 7, Brewers 3
Athletics 1, Rangers 0
Orioles 3, Blue Jays 4
Marlins 3, Mets 0 (Game 1)
Phillies 5, Nationals 4
Cubs 1, Pirates 2
Royals 1, Tigers 0
Indians 8, White Sox 1
Padres 1, Braves 2
Angels 6, Astros 2
Mariners 4, Cardinals 1
Marlins 1, Mets 3 (Game 2)
Rockies 2, Diamondbacks 9
Rays 7, Twins 0
Giants 19, Dodgers 3
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.