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Associated Press
Detroit Tigers Prince Fielder points to the stands after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Detroit, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

ST. LOUIS — James McDonald halted a string of ineffective starts with six innings of two-hit ball, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Friday night in a matchup of NL Central playoff contenders.

Andrew McCutchen singled and scored on a passed ball in a two-run fourth for the Pirates, who also scored on a wild pitch that inning. Pittsburgh totaled 41 runs during its first six games in St. Louis this season.

McDonald (11-5) was 0-2 in his previous four outings while allowing 20 earned runs over 211?3 innings. He coughed up a 7-1 lead in his last start.

NATIONALS 6, METS 4: At Washington, Michael Morse hit a grand slam, Bryce Harper also homered and the Washington Nationals became the latest team to tag a struggling Johan Santana.

REDS 7, CUBS 3: At Cincinnati, Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run while Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce added solo shots.

BREWERS 6, PHILLIES 2: At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun hit his NL-leading 32nd home run, Yovani Gallardo won his fourth straight start, and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their home winning streak to nine.

BRAVES 4, DODGERS 3 (11 INNINGS): At Atlanta, pinch-hitter Juan Francisco's two-out single in the 11th inning gave the Atlanta Braves their fourth straight win.

DIAMONDBACKS 3, ASTROS 1: At Houston, Wade Miley pitched six solid innings and drove in a run.

GIANTS 10, PADRES 1: At San Diego, Matt Cain pitched eight dominating innings and the San Francisco Giants scored eight runs in the third inning to move into first place in the NL West.

MARLINS 6, ROCKIES 5: At Denver, Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton homered and Wade LeBlanc won for the first time as a starter.

American League

YANKEES 6, RED SOX 4: At New York, Derek Jeter hit his 250th home run, Nick Swisher connected twice and the New York Yankees won on a lightning-filled evening for their eighth win in 10 games.

BLUE JAYS 3, RANGERS 2: At Toronto, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 31st home run, J.A. Happ won his second straight start and the Toronto Blue Jays handed the Rangers their fourth loss in five games.

TIGERS 5, ORIOLES 3: At Detroit, Prince Fielder hit a pair of two-run homers, including a 462-foot shot to right-center to lift the Detroit Tigers.

ROYALS 4, WHITE SOX 2: At Kansas City, Mo., Salvador Perez hit a tiebreaking two-run double with two out in the seventh inning.

MARINERS 5, TWINS 3: At Seattle, John Jaso and Miguel Olivo homered, and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched seven strong innings.

RAYS 12, ANGELS 3: At Anaheim, Calif., B.J. Upton went 4 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs, Ben Zobrist and Jose Molina also homered and the Tampa Bay Rays battered Jered Weaver for a career-worst nine earned runs.

ATHLETICS 6, INDIANS 4: At Oakland, Calif., Josh Donaldson hit a tiebreaking single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics rallied from four runs down.


PITTSBURGH — The Pirates reached another milepost Friday on their road back to respectability.

Pittsburgh began mailing out instructions to their season ticketholders on how to buy tickets for postseason games. Also included in the mailing will be news of a price increase for 2013 tickets — the cost of business for a winning team.

The Pirates haven't been to the postseason since 1992 — which also was their last winning season — or been in contention this late in the season since 1997 when they eventually finished second in the National League Central to Houston.

KONERKO COMES OFF DL: The Chicago White Sox have activated first baseman Paul Konerko from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

The AL Central-leading White Sox also recalled left-hander Hector Santiago from Triple-A Charlotte before Friday night's game at Kansas City. Infielder Orlando Hudson (bruised left foot) and left-hander Leyson Septimo (left biceps inflammation) were placed on the 15-day DL.

BRAVES ACTIVATE HANSON: The Atlanta Braves have optioned to reliever Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for pitcher Tommy Hanson coming off the disabled list.

Hanson, who had been sidelined by a lower back strain, started Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

DESMOND COMES OFF DL: The Washington Nationals activated All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond from the 15-day disabled list and designated infielder Cesar Izturis for assignment.

Desmond, out since July 22, missed the last 25 games with a left oblique strain. In 89 games this season, the 26-year-old is batting .286 with 17 home runs, 53 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.