Brandon Phillips drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double on Friday night, and Mike Leake got the better of left-hander Francisco Liriano for the third time this season, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that tightened the NL Central.
The third-place Reds moved to within three games of second-place Pittsburgh. The Pirates lead their season series 6-5.
The Reds sent nine batters to the plate for four runs in the fifth off Liriano (9-4), who had his shortest outing of the season. Chris Heisey’s infield single drove in the first run, and Phillips’ double off Justin Wilson made it 5-0.
Heisey also had a solo homer off Liriano, who is 0-3 in three starts against Leake and the Reds this season.
Leake (9-4) gave up solo homers to Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin in the sixth inning. Manny Parra fanned Pedro Alvarez with runners on second and third to end the seventh.
Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the ninth while getting his 22nd save in 25 chances.
The Ohio River rivals have produced the majors’ most painful pairings this season. Nineteen batters have been hit by pitches — the Reds 10 times, the Pirates nine times — in their 11 games. Nobody was hit on Friday, a rare game that didn’t leave a mark.
The Pirates emerged from the All-Star break with their best record in 37 years. Their 56 wins were their most at the break since the World Series champion Pirates of 1971 had 57 wins.
Dodgers 3, Nationals 2
Andre Ethier homered off Rafael Soriano to lead off the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers resumed play after the All-Star break Friday night with a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
Ethier pulled a 1-2 slider just over the wall in right-center, his sixth homer of the year and the second ninth-inning homer allowed by Soriano (1-2) in three appearances.
Hanley Ramirez also homered for the Dodgers, who picked up where they left off before the break, winning for the seventh time in nine games and moving back above .500. They were 12 games below the break-even mark on June 21.
Ronald Belisario (4-5) faced only one batter to get the win, his 14th consecutive appearance without a run allowed. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Cubs 3, Rockies 1
Jeff Samardzija pitched effectively into the eighth inning and Anthony Rizzo doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh, leading the Chicago Cubs past the Colorado Rockies 3-1 Friday night.
Alfonso Soriano added a home run, his 17th, and Junior Lake, recalled by Chicago from Triple-A Iowa before the game, had three hits in his major league debut, including a double in his first career at-bat. Darwin Barney drove in an insurance run with a ninth-inning double.
Samardzija (6-9) kept the Rockies in check by limiting them to one run on four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
D.J. LeMahieu doubled off Kevin Gregg to start the ninth and advanced to third on a ground out by Carlos Gonzalez. Troy Tulowitzki walked before Gregg induced Michael Cuddyer to ground into a game-ending double play for his 18th save in 20 chances.
Royals 1, Tigers 0
Ervin Santana allowed two singles in 7 1-3 innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Friday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Santana, who can be a free agent after the season and has been widely speculated to be traded before the July 31 deadline without a player clearing waivers, did not allow a runner to reach second base. He walked one and struck out six.
Santana (6-6), who was coming off his worst outing of the season, when he allowed eight runs on 10 hits in a July 11 loss at Cleveland, retired the first 10 Tigers before Torii Hunter’s one-out single in the fourth.
Greg Holland worked a flawless ninth for his 23rd save in 25 opportunities, striking out one.
Red Sox 4, Yankees 2
Jacoby Ellsbury and Johnny Gomes homered, and Felix Doubront outpitched Andy Pettitte on Friday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the depleted New York Yankees in the opener of their three-game series.
Ellsbury homered on Pettitte’s second pitch of the game, and Gomes made it 3-0 in the second.
Doubront (7-3) held a Yankees lineup without Derek Jeter and a handful of other regulars hitless until Lyle Overbay doubled to lead off the fifth inning. In all, the Red Sox left-hander gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits and three walks while striking out five in 6 1-3 innings. It was the 12th consecutive start in which Doubront has allowed three or fewer earned runs.
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Braves 6, White Sox 4
Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to break open a tie game and the Atlanta Braves started the second half of the season with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Braves starter Tim Hudson (7-7) earned his third straight win after a 10-start winless streak. He pitched 7 1-3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking two in the interleague game. Craig Kimbrell pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 29 outings.
White Sox starter John Danks (2-7) took his seventh loss in his last 10 starts. Danks pitched seven innings, allowing all five Atlanta runs on seven hits, including homers by McCann and Andrelton Simmons. He struck out four and walked none. Danks also uncorked a wild pitch before to McCann’s homer.