PITTSBURGH — It was hard to tell whether the Pittsburgh Pirates were heading on a road trip or getting ready for a Stanley Cup playoff game after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 on Thursday for their fourth straight win.
All of the Pirates’ players and coaches wore Pittsburgh Penguins’ replica jerseys as they got ready to embark on a road trip to Milwaukee and Detroit. The Penguins even sent a custom-made No. 13 sweater to manager Clint Hurdle.
The Penguins lead the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
“There’s nothing much like playoff hockey,” Hurdle said. “We’re just getting into the spirit.”
Utility infielder Brandon Inge took things one step farther before the game, arriving in the Pirates’ clubhouse dressed in a full hockey uniform and rollerblades.
“It’s something fun’ something to change things up a little bit during a long season. Plus, we’ve got to support our boys,” said Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, a Pittsburgh-area native.
The Pirates won for the 11th time in 13 games as Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two RBIs.
Leadoff hitter Starling Marte singled and scored in each of the first two innings as Pittsburgh built an early 4-0 lead. The Pirates moved a season-best 11 games over .500.
“We’re playing good baseball and I don’t think we’ve reached our ceiling yet,” McCutchen said. “The pitching has been good all year but the hitting has kind of been up and down. The bats are eventually going to come around and we should be even better when that happens.”
Angels 5, Royals 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit solo home runs, and Mark Trumbo hit a two-run shot to help Los Angeles beat Kansas City.
Joe Blanton got his first victory of the season after going 0-7 in his first nine starts. He held the Royals to seven hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings. Trumbo put the Angels up 5-2 in the eighth with his team-leading 11th homer.
Ervin Santana (3-4), who spent 12 seasons in the Angels’ organization before being traded during the off-season to the Royals, struck out eight without a walk, but allowed five runs and eight hits — four of which were homers. Chris Iannetta hit one in the fifth.
Indians 12, Red Sox 3
BOSTON — Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds drove in three runs each and Cleveland had 16 hits in a 12-3 win over Boston in manager Terry Francona’s return to Fenway Park.
Francona, let go by Boston after the 2011 season, got a standing ovation after the first inning during a video tribute on the center-field scoreboard.
In eight years as manager, Francona led the Red Sox to two World Series championships. In his first year as Cleveland’s manager, he has the Indians in first place in the AL Central after they went 68-94 last season.
Blue Jays 12, Orioles 6
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth career grand slam, J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four runs and Toronto beat Baltimore, spoiling the debut of Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Brandon Morrow (2-3) allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Brett Cecil and Brad Lincoln each worked one inning of scoreless relief as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit his major league leading 15th home run, a leadoff shot in the fourth. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones clubbed back-to-back homers off Morrow in the eighth but it wasn’t enough for the Orioles, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.