CLEVELAND (AP) — Max Kepler homered three times and José Berríos (8-2) locked up Cleveland’s lineup into the seventh inning as the Minnesota Twins avoided a sweep — and their first three-game losing streak — by beating the Indians 5-4 on Thursday night.
Kepler, who entered hitless in his previous 21 at-bats, connected in the first, third and seventh innings off Indians starter Trevor Bauer (4-6). Kepler also walked in the fifth.
The 26-year-old outfielder came up in the ninth with a chance to become the 19th player in history to hit four homers in one game — a feat rarer than a perfect game. But left-hander Josh Smith kept the left-handed swinging Kepler in the park, getting him to hit a hard grounder to the right side that he beat out for a single.
It was Kepler’s second career three-homer game. The other one also came against the Indians on Aug. 1, 2016.
The AL-Central leading Twins took the series finale and again moved 10½ games ahead of Cleveland, whose run of three straight division titles could be coming to an end.
Indians rookie Oscar Mercado’s pinch-hit homer in the ninth pulled Cleveland to 5-4 before Taylor Rogers retired Roberto Pérez on a groundout for his sixth save.
ASTROS 8, MARINERS 7, 14 INNINGS
SEATTLE (AP) — Myles Straw led off the 14th inning with a triple and scored on Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly, and Houston outlasted pesky Seattle in the longest game of the season by innings for either team.
Seattle staged tying rallies in the ninth and 10th innings and loaded the bases in the bottom of the 14th thanks to three walks by Chris Devenski (1-0), but the right-hander got Shed Long to fly out to end it.
Houston led 5-1 after 6 1/2 innings but Seattle chipped away, tying it at 6 in the ninth on Edwin Encarnacion’s single against closer Roberto Osuna. That prevented Justin Verlander from becoming the first 10-game winner in the AL.
Matt Festa (0-1) allowed Straw’s triple — a ball that was played poorly by right fielder Domingo Santana — and one walk in the 14th for the Mariners.
Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger left in the seventh with what the team called a “mid-body” contusion.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich hit his major league-leading 23rd home run and Mike Moustakas added two homers to lead Milwaukee over Miami.
Milwaukee won the series finale after getting outscored 24-3 in the first two games. The Brewers are a percentage point behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Yelich hit a two-run homer in the first off Caleb Smith (3-4).
Freddy Peralta (3-2), struck out nine and gave up one run in six innings. Josh Hader struck out three in 1 1/3 innings for his 14th save.
ROCKIES 3, CUBS 1
CHICAGO (AP) — Peter Lambert (1-0) allowed four hits over seven innings and struck out nine to win his major league debut. The 22-year-old right-hander was selected in the second round with the 44th overall pick of the 2015 amateur draft,
He also singled on his first pitch as a big league batter, using a two-tone bat to loop a fastball from José Quintana (4-5) to right-center field.
Scott Oberg threw a perfect ninth for this third save, completing a five-hitter.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the third when David Dahl hit an RBI single and scored on the first of Ian Desmond’s two doubles.
CARDINALS 3, REDS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Paul DeJong hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Michael Lorenzen (0-1) in the seventh and St. Louis tied its season high with four stolen bases, closing within 2 1/2 games of the NL Central lead. DeJong had been in a 3-for-43 slide with no extra-base hits.
Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Marcel Ozuna and Dexter Fowler swiped bases for the Cardinals, who are tied with Milwaukee for the NL lead with 37.
John Gant (5-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief and Jordan Hicks got three straight outs for his 12th save.
BLUE JAYS 2
TORONTO (AP) — J.A. Happ (6-3) pitched seven strong innings to win his fifth straight decision, Aaron Hicks and Gio Urshela homered, and New York beat Toronto to avoid a three-game sweep.
DJ LeMahieu had three hits and two RBIs, and the Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak, their first since early April. Aroldis Chapman got his 18th save in 19 opportunities.
Edwin Jackson (0-4) allowed six runs, two earned, in 3 1/3 innings, losing his fourth straight start. Jackson decreased his ERA to 11.90 after allowing 10 runs in his previous outing at Colorado.
RED SOX 7, ROYALS 5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mookie Betts hit a two-run homer off Danny Duffy (3-3) in a four-run third inning, and complete its first series sweep since May 10-12 against the Chicago White Sox. Betts is 7 for 11 with five home runs against Duffy.
Kansas City has lost six straight and nine of 10, dropping to a big league-worst 19-43.
Colten Brewer (1-2) pitched two scoreless innings of two-hit relief. Matt Barnes, Boston’s seventh pitcher, allowed Jorge Soler’s one-out RBI double in the inth but got his fourth save.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Delino DeShields’ single led to a key error by Chris Davis during his first game in right field in almost three years, and Texas beat banged-up Baltimore.
The Orioles lost left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. when he crashed into the wall just as he caught a fly ball by Rougned Odor.
Ariel Jurado (3-2) gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings with six strikeouts, and Shawn Kelley got his seventh save. David Hess (1-8) gave up his major league-leading 20th home run.
PIRATES 6, BRAVES 1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Foltynewicz (1-5) allowed consecutive home runs to Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco in the second inning, raising his season total to 15.
Josh Bell had three doubles, increasing his major league-leading total to 25, and had two RBIs to take sole possession of the big league lead with 58.
Chris Archer (3-5) gave up one run and six hits in six innings, and Felipe Vázquez got four outs for his 15th save.
RAYS 6, TIGERS 1
DETROIT (AP) — Travis d’Arnaud homered for the first time since March 31 last year, going deep twice.
D’Arnaud missed all but four games in 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. Willy Adames also homered for Tampa Bay.
Jalen Beeks (5-0) pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings for the Rays, a major league-best 20-9 on the road.
Daniel Norris (2-5) allowed three runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run homer and left-hander Joey Lucchesi settled down after falling behind 4-0 in the first inning to help San Diego beat Washington.
The Padres snapped the Nationals’ four-game winning streak and welcomed back prized rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who missed 34 games with a strained left hamstring. The 20-year-old Tatis singled in the fifth and scored the second of three Padres runs that gave San Diego the lead.
Lucchesi (5-3) won on his 25th birthday. He allowed four runs and four hits on 95 pitches in five innings. Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for big league-leading 23rd save. The Padres retired the last 20 Nationals batters.
Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (5-4) threw 101 pitches in five innings, allowing five runs — three earned. He walked five.
Lucchesi gave up Howie Kendrick’s two-run single followed by Brian Dozier’s two-run homer in the first.