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Cardinals nail sixth straight win


PHOENIX: Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in his return to Chase Field, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-7 Monday night for their sixth straight win.

Yadier Molina also connected as the Cardinals moved 3 1/2 games of idle Milwaukee in the NL Central. St. Louis has five games remaining in the regular season while Milwaukee has six.

The Diamondbacks were eliminated from postseason contention.

Goldschmidt had a big night in his return to the desert after playing eight years for the Diamondbacks from 2011-18. He got a loud ovation from fans in the first inning.

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (right) celebrates the team’s 9-7 victory with catcher Yadier Molina after the final out of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. AP PHOTO

Adam Wainwright (14-9) won his fifth straight start, allowing five runs over five innings. Carlos Martínez earned his 24th save.

Arizona’s Alex Young (7-5) surrendered six runs in five innings.

Meanwhile, Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe and Willy Adames homered during Tampa Bay’s six-run fourth inning, and the Rays moved into sole possession of the second AL wild card.

The Rays hold a half-game lead over Cleveland, which had the day off.

Boston slugger J.D. Martinez drove in a run to become the ninth player in franchise history to have at least 35 homers and 100 RBIs in multiple seasons.

Colin Poche, the ninth Tampa Bay pitcher, struck out Christian Vazquez and Xander Bogaerts with two on in the ninth for his second save. Austin Pruitt (3-0) worked one inning.

Bobby Poyner (0-1) got the loss.

In Washington, Patrick Corbin pitched six effective innings, and the Nationals strengthened their playoff positioning.

Adam Eaton, Yan Gomes and Trea Turner homered for Washington, which moved a half-game ahead of idle Milwaukee for the top spot in the wild-card standings. The Nationals reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to three.

Corbin (14-7) matched his career high for wins in the first season of a $140 million, six-year contract.

Philadelphia’s Zach Eflin (9-13) permitted five runs and eight hits in five innings. The Phillies were pushed to the brink of elimination after beginning the season with great expectations after signing former Washington slugger Bryce Harper to a blockbuster deal.


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