CHICAGO (AP) Francisco Liriano pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the playoff-bound Chicago Cubs 4-0 for their eighth straight victory.
Liriano (12-7) struck out nine and walked three over 7 2-3 innings. Jordy Mercer had a three-run homer off Jason Hammel (9-7), and the Pirates continued to roll.
They lead Chicago by 51/2 games for the top wild card with a chance to complete a weekend sweep on Sunday. The Pirates then open a three-game series Monday against St. Louis, the team they trail in NL Central.
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ASTROS 9, RANGERS 7
HOUSTON (AP) - Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve hit two homers apiece as the Astros connected a season-high six times in a win over the Rangers, cutting Texas' lead in the AL West to 3 1/2 games.
The victory breaks an eight-game losing streak to the Rangers and ends a three-game skid overall for Houston.
Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus also homered for the Astros, who are second in the majors with 216 longballs this season. The six homers Texas gave up were a season high.
Collin McHugh (18-7) settled down after a tough first inning to allow eight hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings for his fifth straight win.
Chi Chi Gonzalez (4-6) allowed one hit and three runs - one earned - in 1 2-3 innings for the loss.
BLUE JAYS 10, RAYS 8
TORONTO (AP) - Jose Bautista hit two home runs, David Price won for the ninth time in 11 starts with Toronto and the playoff-bound Blue Jays beat the Rays.
Just a few hours after learning the Blue Jays ended their 22-year postseason drought thanks to their main competitors' overlapping schedules, Bautista hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run drive in a five-run first inning against Chris Archer (12-13).
Price (18-5) allowed five runs - four earned - in five innings. Despite the difficult outing, Price maintained his AL ERA lead at 2.45.