Bryant leads Cubs, Orioles bounce back


Kris Bryant starred as the Chicago Cubs got the better of the Milwaukee Brewers in a 9-6 slugfest in MLB action on Thursday.

While Cy Young Award-winning team-mate Jake Arrieta struggled, Bryant had his back with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored as he went five-for-five.

The Baltimore Orioles are tied for second place in the American League East after downing the Houston Astros 13-5.

Baltimore hit six home runs to move level alongside the Boston Red Sox, who lost 4-3 to the Detroit Tigers.

Reigning World Series champions the Kansas City Royals eased past the Minnesota Twins 8-1 and the Washington Nationals saw off the Atlanta Braves 8-2.

The Chicago White Sox lost 5-4 to the Cleveland Indians, while the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds both won by the same scoreline against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins respectively.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Angels overcame the Seattle Mariners 6-4, the San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets 10-7 and the San Diego Padres edged the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-8.



Shortstop J.J. Hardy went three for four with two homers and three RBIs in a rout of the Astros. Baltimore actually went deep six times in the blowout, getting home runs from Chris Davis (two), Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado. It was the sixth time this season Baltimore has connected on five or more homers in a game.



Royals outfielder Alex Gordon hit his third career grand slam and first since July 2 2013, against the Indians. With the victory over the Twins, the Royals have won 10 of their past 12 games as the clubhouse hopes its good luck charm, the Rally Mantis, can help them get back into the playoffs.



Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth connected with an RBI double against the Braves to extend his streak of reaching base to 46 games in a row, tying a franchise record - Rusty Staub in 1969-70.

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez became the second-quickest to 200 strikeouts in a season (139 2/3 innings). Randy Johnson accomplished the mark in 130 2/3 innings in 2001. 



With each club vying for the second wildcard spot currently held by the St Louis Cardinals, the Marlins and Pirates square off with the playoffs in mind on Friday. The Pirates, who have won six of their last seven, will send ace Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.25 ERA) to the mound to face off against Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.86 ERA). 

Meanwhile, for the first time, Rick Porcello (16-3, 3.30 ERA) pitches at Comerica Park since being traded to Boston after the 2014 season. Potential Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer (10-3, 2.25 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Tigers, who are three and a half games back from the second wildcard.