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Pirates’ victory over Cubs, Cards’ loss evens NL Central

Fit to be tied

Published: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 12:01 a.m. CDT

By The Associated Press

Tyler Thornburg threw six solid innings, and Sean Halton homered to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over the Cardinals 5-3 on Thursday night in St. Louis, snapping the Cards’ five-game winning streak.

St. Louis fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for the top spot in the NL Central. Both teams are 85-61 with 16 games remaining. The idle Cincinnati Reds are 2˝ back.

Milwaukee broke a three-game losing streak against St. Louis and beat the Cardinals for only the fourth time in 16 meetings this season.

The Cardinals are 5-1 on their nine-game homestand.

Thornburg (2-1), making his eighth career start, gave up two runs and three hits. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Nashville, going 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts.

Thornburg struck out six and walked two. He has allowed two runs or fewer and gone six innings in all five major league starts this season.

Jim Henderson earned his 25th save in 29 opportunities.

Halton, who had three RBIs, hit a two-run homer off Joe Kelly (8-4) in the fourth to put the Brewers up 4-0. Halton also had a run-scoring single in the second.

Kelly allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in five innings. He won his previous five starts, and the Cardinals had won his last eight.

Pirates 3, Cubs 1: Jeff Locke insists he didn’t need a confidence boost after a late summer swoon. A return to basics and a little help from his teammates provided one, anyway.

Flashing the form that made him a surprise All-Star in July, Locke allowed three hits over seven innings in Pittsburgh to earn his first victory in nearly 2 months.

Locke (10-5) struck out five and walked one to help the Pirates win their fourth straight. Mark Melancon worked out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth for his 14th save.

Jordy Mercer went 2-for-4 with an RBI double for Pittsburgh. Marlon Byrd and Pedro Alvarez added RBI singles for the Pirates, who hardly appear content with their first winning season in 21 years.

Indians 14, White Sox 3: Ryan Raburn went 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBIs, and the Cleveland Indians routed the White Sox in Chicago to remain to 1˝ games out of the second AL wild-card spot.

The Indians blew the game open with a seven-run, rain-delayed fifth inning, in which their first nine batters reached base. Charlie Leesman, who relieved Chicago starter John Danks (4-13), faced the first seven Cleveland hitters, all of whom scored.

Nick Swisher had a solo homer and three RBIs, and Asdrubal Cabrera added a solo shot to support starter Corey Kluber (9-5), who won his second straight start after missing a month with right middle finger sprain.

The right-hander gave up two runs and six hits in five innings.

Relievers Josh Tomlin, Vinnie Pestano and Preston Guilmet worked the next four innings, allowing one unearned run.

Danks lasted four innings and allowed seven runs, nine hits and three walks in his third straight loss. In his last three outings, the left-hander has given up 17 runs in 14 1/3 innings.

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