Simon first in NL to win 12, Reds beat Cubs 4-1
CINCINNATI (AP) - Alfredo Simon became the NL's first 12-game winner and Billy Hamilton added to his sensational series with a tiebreaking triple Wednesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the trade-depleted Chicago Cubs.
The Reds won their fifth in a row - matching their season high - and moved a season-best seven games over .500. After winning the first four games of the series, they'll try for their first five-game sweep since 1976 on Thursday.
Simon, left off the All-Star team, became the first Reds pitcher to win a dozen games before the break since Edinson Volquez also went 12-3 in the first half of 2008. The reliever-turner-starter gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings, including Anthony Rizzo's third homer in four games.
WHITE SOX-RED SOX
Red Sox rally to snap skid, beat White Sox 5-4
BOSTON (AP) - Daniel Nava doubled in the tying run in the ninth inning and scored on Brock Holt's single as the Boston Red Sox rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Wednesday night and snap a four-game losing streak.
Chris Sale pitched 7 2-3 innings of four-hit ball and left with a 4-0 lead in his bid to earn the last spot on the AL All-Star team. The winner of the fan voting will be announced on Thursday and Sale, an All-Star the last two seasons, walked none and struck out six before his bullpen cost him a chance to improve to 9-1.
Jake Petricka faced four batters in the eighth and failed to record an out. It was 4-3 by the time Javy Guerra retired Mike Carp to end the eighth.
But Guerra couldn't finish it in the ninth, hitting Mookie Betts with one out and then giving up RBI hits to Nava and Holt.
Lynn wins 10th, Cardinals top Pirates 5-2
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lance Lynn reached double figures in wins before the All-Star break for the third straight year and Kolten Wong homered for the second game in a row, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates for the third straight time, 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Matt Adams had three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who will go for a four-game sweep over the NL Central rival they beat in the division series last fall on Thursday, although they might have to do it without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina.
Molina was removed for a pinch-hitter in the third inning with a sprained right thumb from sliding into third base and will be re-evaluated before the finale. He caught another half-inning before leaving the game.
Neil Walker homered and doubled for Pittsburgh, which had won 12 of 15 entering the series and dropped the first two on game-winning, ninth-inning homers by Adams and Wong.
Hartley leads Mystics to 72-65 win over Sky
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - Bria Hartley scored 16 points and the Washington Mystics held off a late Chicago rally for a 72-65 victory on Wednesday in front of a Sky record 16,402 fans.
The Mystics snapped a three-game losing streak as Emma Meesseman collected 12 points and 12 rebounds while Kia Vaughn added 10 points.
The Sky dropped their third straight despite Sylvia Fowles' 19 points and 17 rebounds. Chicago rallied from a 13-point deficit to pull within five following Fowles' free throw with 2:41 left, but never got closer.
Epiphanny Prince scored 14 points, Jamierra Faulkner had 13 and Jessica Breland added 10 while Tamera Young had 12 rebounds for Chicago.
The Mystics beat the Sky for the second time this season.
Blackhawks, Toews, Kane agree to 8-year extensions
CHICAGO (AP) - The Blackhawks have agreed to eight-year contract extensions with captain Jonathan Toews (tayvz) and star forward Patrick Kane.
General manager Stan Bowman said all along that the extensions were his biggest offseason priority, and the team announced the megadeals Wednesday. The Blackhawks did not release the value of the deals that keep the two stars in Chicago through the 2022-23 season.
Chicago selected Toews with the No. 3 pick in the 2006 draft, and grabbed Kane with the No. 1 overall selection the following year. They combined to lead the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and 2013.
Kane had 29 goals and 40 assists and Toews finished with 28 goals and 40 assists this season. The Blackhawks lost to Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals.
Cubs call up 2B Alcantara while Barney's gone
CINCINNATI (AP) - The Chicago Cubs are giving one of their prospects a chance to spend a couple of days in the majors, promoting second baseman Arismendy Alcantara while infielder Darwin Barney is on paternity leave.
Alcantara, 22, was in the starting lineup batting second against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. He batted .307 with 25 doubles, 11 triples, 10 homers and 41 RBIs for Triple-A Iowa.
When Barney returns, Alcantara will go back to the minors. Barney is batting .224 with 10 doubles, one triple, two homers and 16 RBIs in 70 games.
As planned, the Cubs called up right-hander Dallas Beeler to make his second major league start in Cincinnati. They optioned left-hander Chris Rusin to Iowa.
Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada also was returned to Iowa, a day after his debut.
Cubs manager Renteria ejected over foul ball call
CINCINNATI (AP) - Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria was ejected in the fifth inning against Cincinnati on Wednesday night for arguing a foul ball call.
Third base umpire Andy Fletcher ruled that Devin Mesoraco's grounder down the line was foul. Third baseman Luis Valbuena had fielded the ball and stepped on the base, thinking he had a foreceout. Renteria came out of the dugout and was quickly ejected while questioning the call.
It was Renteria's fifth ejection this season.
The Cubs gave up three runs in the inning, falling behind 4-1. They came into the game with five straight losses, including a doubleheader sweep by the Reds on Tuesday.
Kelly set to return to Cardinals rotation
ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly is set to return to the rotation Friday from a hamstring injury that's sidelined him nearly three months.
Kelly was injured running to first on April 17. He's 1-1 with an 0.59 ERA in three starts heading into the start in Milwaukee and was 10-5 last year with a 2.69 ERA.
The right-hander is one of three starters on the 15-day disabled list. Michael Wacha is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder sustained in mid-June and lefty Jaime Garcia will undergo season-ending thoracic outlet surgery on Friday in St. Louis to relieve nerve issues that caused numbness and tingling in his shoulder, arm and hand resulting in a loss of feel for his pitches.
Lefty Kevin Siegrist was set to begin a minor rehab stint from a forearm strain that landed him on the DL on May 24.
Cardinals C Molina leaves game with sprained thumb
ST. LOUIS (AP) - All-Star catcher Yadier Molina has been removed from the St. Louis Cardinals' game against Pittsburgh in the third inning with a sprained right thumb.
The team said the injury will be re-evaluated Thursday.
A trainer attended to Molina on the field Wednesday night after he slid feet first into third base in the second inning. Molina remained in the game and caught the top of the third before he was lifted for pinch-hitter Tony Cruz in the bottom half.
Cruz then replaced Molina behind the plate.
Molina was voted to his sixth straight NL All-Star team Sunday and is a starter for the fourth time. He doubled in the second inning and was hitting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBIs.
Report: Peoria among possible 2015 Illini sites
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - One of the places Illinois appears to be considering when its men's basketball team won't have a home court to play on late next year is Peoria's Carver Arena.
The Illini announced earlier this week that renovation work at the State Farm Center on campus will force the team to play five early-season games in 2015-16 on the road.
Peoria Civic Center general manager Jim Wetherington told the Journal Star in Peoria that the university has talked to him about available dates at the downtown Peoria arena.
Illinois officials have declined to say where they're looking.
Carver seats more than 11,000 people. Bradley University basketball and the Peoria Rivermen hockey team call it home.
Wetherington said those teams would get first priority for scheduling.
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