The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 25, 2013

Pirates cruise past Cubs

The Associated Press
Associated Press

CHICAGO —  Gerrit Cole threw six strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates took over the NL wild-card lead, beating the Chicago Cubs 8-2 Tuesday night.

The Pirates moved one game ahead of Cincinnati, which lost to the Mets 4-2. Pittsburgh remained two games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.

One night after clinching their first postseason spot in 21 years, Cole and the Pirates showed few signs of a letdown. Cole hit a two-run single, Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs and Jordy Mercer homered.

Cole (10-7) won his fourth straight start, giving up two runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Cole's single came during a three-run second inning against Chris Rusin (2-6).

Mets 4, Reds 2

CINCINNATI – Mike Leake had one of those nights that happen to pitchers every so often. Bad timing for this one.

And now, the Cincinnati Reds face long odds against a second straight NL Central title.

Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer off Leake, whose long streak of scoreless innings got shattered early, and the New York Mets beat Cincinnati 4-2 on Tuesday night, a costly setback to the Reds’ hopes of another division title.

The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates clinched playoff spots on Monday night, but hoped to chase down the first-place St. Louis Cardinals with closing surges. Leake’s one very bad inning made that much less likely for the Reds.

Cincinnati fell a daunting three games behind St. Louis, which beat Washington 2-0 on Tuesday night. If they can’t catch up, they are headed for the wild card playoff game next Tuesday.

“We’ll forget about this one,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Four games to go.”