(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed their eighth successive victory with a 2-1 triumph over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday and became the first team in Major League Baseball to 50 wins this season.
Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones hit solo home runs to get the Pirates (50-30) to the mark.
Despite their run of good form their lead atop the National League Central is just one game over St. Louis, who kept pace with the Pirates as Matt Adams belted two home runs and Adam Wainwright pitched an impressive complete game to record a 7-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Wainwright (11-5) struck out eight and allowed just one run while Adams had four RBIs to push the Cardinals to 49-31 and drop the Athletics to 47-35.
The Atlanta Braves produced a massive eighth innings to trounce the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 in the battle of the other National League Division leaders.
The Braves trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth but chalked up seven runs in the inning, beginning with Jason Heyward’s RBI double, to claim the win.
The NL East leading Braves improved to 47-34 to cushion their lead over Washington to 6-1/2 games while the NL West leading Diamondbacks’ (42-38) lead over Colorado was reduced to two games.
Colorado (41-41) closed the gap with a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, the winning run coming from a Nolan Arenado RBI single in the ninth.
Michael Cuddyer also extended his Rockies’ franchise-best hitting streak to 26 games.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista homered twice, the second breaking a 2-2 tie in the eighth, and drove in three runs to help the Blue Jays to a 6-2 win over the Boston Red Sox (49-34), which reduced their American League East lead over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles (46-36) clobbered the New York Yankees 11-3 with Chad Davis hitting two home runs to take his major league leading tally to 30.
Extra innings were needed to separate Tampa Bay (42-39) and Detroit (43-36), with the Rays prevailing 4-3 in 10 innings thanks to a Yunel Escobar RBI single.
The Chicago Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano slammed a two-run homer in the 11th to get the Cubs home over the Seattle Mariners 5-3.
Devin Mesoraco matched Soriano with a two-run blast in the 11th for the Cincinnati Reds to defeat the Texas Rangers 6-4.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury