Best of MLB: Cardinals Smash Royals for 3rd Consecutive Victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis' six-run fourth inning, and the Cardinals beat the Kansas City Royals 11-3 on Monday night for their third consecutive victory.

Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong also connected for the Cardinals, who returned to .500 at 56-56. Carlos Martinez (8-9) pitched eight innings of two-run ball for just his second win in his last nine starts.

St. Louis also got some help from Kansas City during its outburst in the fourth. Ian Kennedy (4-8) walked No. 9 hitter Greg Garcia on five pitches with the bases loaded, and shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Drew Butera each committed an error (see full recap).

Scherzer sharp in return from neck spasms
WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer pitched seven sharp innings in his first start since he was sidelined by neck spasms, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Monday night.

Bryce Harper homered for Washington, and pinch hitter Adam Lind singled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning. The Nationals expanded their lead in the NL East over second-place Miami to 14 games.

Brandon Kintzler (2-0) worked the eighth and Sean Doolittle got three outs to earn his sixth save with Washington. Both pitchers were acquired shortly before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline (see full recap).

Williams helps Pirates shut out Tigers
PITTSBURGH -- Trevor Williams allowed one hit over seven dominant innings to outduel Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-0 victory on Monday night.

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Williams (5-4) struck out five and walked two, giving up only a leadoff single to Brian McCann in the third. Williams threw a career-high 107 pitches and never allowed a runner to third base as the Pirates won their third straight to pull within four games of idle Chicago in the NL Central.

Francisco Cervelli gave the Pirates the early lead with an RBI double off Zimmermann (7-9) in the second. John Jaso provided some late insurance with a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh.

Zimmermann struck out three and walked two in seven innings. The Tigers have dropped three straight following a four-game winning streak (see full recap).

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