Thursday's Major League Baseball Capsules

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a leadoff homer and later connected for a two-run shot, and the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 on Thursday.

Jason Bay also homered and Lucas Duda drove in three runs for the Mets, who had been swept in a three-game series by the New York Yankees last weekend.

The Mets outscored Tampa Bay 29-9 in this series.

Johan Santana (4-3) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings. Frank Francisco struck out Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded on a 3-2 pitch to end it.

Nieuwenhuis began the afternoon with a home run off Jeremy Hellickson (4-3). Nieuwenhuis homered again during a four-run fourth, helping the Mets take an 8-4 lead. It was his first career multihomer game.

Hellickson gave up a career-high eight runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year, 0-3 over his last five starts, has allowed more than three earned runs in just five of 46 career starts.

REDS 12, INDIANS 5

CINCINNATI (AP) — Brandon Phillips hit one of Cincinnati's three homers and drove in four more runs, leading the ailing Reds to their first three-game sweep of Cleveland since 2008.

Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick also homered for the Reds, who had a season-high 17 hits.

Phillips went 8 for 13 with two homers and seven RBIs against his former team.

Mike Leake went 4 1-3 innings before having to leave the game, still feeling the effects of a nasty stomach virus that swept through the clubhouse at the start of the series. Jose Arredondo (4-1) pitched out of a threat in the fifth.

Josh Tomlin (3-4) took the loss, giving up six runs on 10 hits in four innings of work.

TIGERS 5, CUBS 3

CHICAGO (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched eight solid innings for his first win in a month to lead Detroit over Chicago.

Austin Jackson hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and a two-run homer in the ninth for Detroit, which went 4-2 on its interleague road trip through Cincinnati and Chicago.

Verlander (6-4) yielded five hits, struck out eight and walked none in his first victory since his one-hitter in a 6-0 victory against Pittsburgh on May 18.

Jose Valverde allowed a run in the ninth before finishing for his 13th save in 16 chances.

Travis Wood (0-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Cubs.

ATHLETICS 8, ROCKIES 2

DENVER (AP) — Jarrod Parker allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings and Brandon Moss drove in three runs, helping Oakland to its first road sweep since the end of the 2010 season.

Parker (3-3) allowed just three singles before being lifted for a reliever after throwing an efficient 89 pitches. He struck out six and walked just one.

Moss has been swinging a hot bat since being brought up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 6. He hit his fifth homer in eight games, a solo shot to right-center in the ninth. He also had a two-run double in the third.

Alex White (2-5) surrendered four runs — two earned — in four innings for Colorado.

ORIOLES 12, PIRATES 6

BALTIMORE (AP) — Steve Pearce homered and drove in a career-high five runs, Matt Wieters had four hits and five RBIs, and Baltimore cruised past Pittsburgh for a three-game sweep.

Mark Reynolds went 4 for 5 with a homer for the Orioles, who built a 10-0 lead en route to their fifth straight victory. Much of the damage came against former Oriole Erik Bedard (4-7), who yielded seven runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.

Baltimore moved 11 games over .500 (37-26) and within a half-game of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. The Orioles outscored Pittsburgh 27-13 in their fifth series sweep of the year, matching their total from last season.

Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter (3-3) retired his first 12 batters but ended up allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings. He was 0-2 in his previous seven starts.

DIAMONDBACKS 11, RANGERS 3

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra homered to back Daniel Hudson's seven solid innings in Arizona's victory over AL West-leading Texas.

The Diamondbacks scored one run while losing the first two games of the series, but led for good in the finale after Kubel's two-run homer in the second off Scott Feldman (0-6).

Parra's three-run shot off reliever Tanner Scheppers capped a five-run sixth. Miguel Montero added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Hudson (3-1) struck out a season-high seven without a walk only six days after the shortest start in his four major league seasons.

ROYALS 4, BREWERS 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Brayan Pena drove in the tying run in the ninth inning and Jarrod Dyson scored the winning run on a misguided cutoff throw across the infield, giving Kansas City a victory over Milwaukee.

The wild ninth inning began when Mitch Maier reached first base while striking out on a wild pitch against Brewers closer John Axford (1-3), who also blew a save chance the previous night.

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer and Tim Collins (4-0) worked the ninth for the Royals, who wrapped up their first three-game sweep at home since April 2011.

Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez homered for the Brewers.

Kansas City outfielder Jeff Francoeur and manager Ned Yost were ejected.

PHILLIES 6, TWINS 1

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Blanton pitched his second complete game of the season and Jim Thome homered for the second day in a row to lead Philadelphia over Minnesota.

Blanton (6-6) gave up seven hits and struck out seven while going the distance for the eighth time in his career, snapping an ugly string of five straight starts with at least five runs allowed. Ty Wigginton also homered for the Phillies, who took two of three from a Minnesota team that was unbeaten in its previous four series.

Trevor Plouffe homered for the third consecutive day and fifth time in six games for the Twins. Scott Diamond (5-2) gave up four runs and five hits in six innings.

Jimmy Rollins added three hits for the Phillies.

CARDINALS 5, WHITE SOX 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) — David Freese homered, doubled and drove in three runs to lead St. Louis past Chicago.

Adam Dunn tied Texas' Josh Hamilton for the major league home run lead with his 22nd, a three-run shot in the sixth that pulled the White Sox to 5-3.

Matt Adams had a two-run single for St. Louis, which had scored one run in three straight games and no more than two in each of the last five.

Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (5-6) retired his first 12 batters on 41 pitches. Westbrook threw only 67 pitches in six innings, allowing five hits. The right-hander was 0-4 with a 7.55 ERA in his previous six outings since winning May 8 at Arizona. He also was 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA in his previous eight starts against the White Sox since beating them Aug. 7, 2007, with Cleveland. He had not faced Chicago since 2010.

Jason Motte pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (4-7) dropped to 1-4 with a 10.38 ERA in his last six starts. Floyd is 0-5 in his last eight interleague starts.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

ASTROS 6, GIANTS 3

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit his first career grand slam and Houston beat San Francisco to avoid a three-game sweep one day after Matt Cain's perfect game.

Matt Downs also homered and Justin Maxwell drove in a run for the Astros, who had dropped 13 of their previous 17. Wandy Rodriguez (6-4) went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, and Brett Myers worked the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer and Hector Sanchez added a sacrifice fly for the Giants.

Barry Zito (5-4) lasted five innings, allowing five runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three in losing two straight decisions for the first time this season.

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