The St. Louis Cardinals won six of seven games last week, and eight in a row, but the Chicago Cubs held on to first place in the National League Central standings.
The tightest division race in baseball got even closer last week. The St. Louis Cardinals swept the Royals in four games – two in Kansas City followed by two at home – and then beat the Braves in the first two of a three-game set over the weekend to jump the Brewers into second place in the National League Central.
St. Louis ran its winning streak to eight before a 6-3 loss to the Braves Sunday. The Cardinals scored eight or more runs in six straight games during their winning streak.
Paul DeJong was the hero at the plate for the Redbirds last week, hitting three home runs and driving in eight in seven games. DeJong led the club with 12 hits, and Randal Grichuk followed closely with 11. Grichuk and Yadier Molina each homered twice for the Cardinals. Kolten Wong led the club with eight runs scored and also drove in seven. Grichuk, Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler were close behind with seven runs scored. All six drove in at least five runs in seven games. In other words, it was a collective effort.
The red-hot Cardinals pulled into a tie with the Chicago Cubs for first place in the division Saturday, but enter the new week one game behind in the standings. St. Louis is also just 4.5 games behind the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card race.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee is just two games back in the Central, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are only four games out of first. No other division in baseball has one team within four games of first place, but four teams in the Central are within striking distance.
American League East
Boston Red Sox (67-50, .573, – GB)
Last Week: 2-0 at Rays, 2-1 at Yankees
- Home Record: 36-20
- Road Record: 31-30
- Runs Scored: 560
- Runs Allowed: 470
- Run Differential: +90
- Streak: Won 2
- Last 10: 9-1
New York Yankees (61-55, .536, 5.5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 at Blue Jays, 1-2 vs. Red Sox
- Home Record: 33-22
- Road Record: 28-33
- Runs Scored: 598
- Runs Allowed: 488
- Run Differential: +110
- Streak: Lost 2
- Last 10: 4-6
Tampa Bay Rays (59-60, .496, 9 GB)
Last Week: 0-2 vs. Red Sox, 1-3 vs. Indians
- Home Record: 31-30
- Road Record: 28-30
- Runs Scored: 516
- Runs Allowed: 526
- Run Differential: -10
- Streak: Lost 3
- Last 10: 3-7
Baltimore Orioles (58-60, .492, 9.5 GB)
Last Week: 1-2 at Angels, 2-2 at Athletics
- Home Record: 35-23
- Road Record: 23-37
- Runs Scored: 557
- Runs Allowed: 606
- Run Differential: -49
- Streak: Lost 1
- Last 10: 5-5
Toronto Blue Jays (56-61, .479, 11 GB)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Yankees, 2-1 vs. Pirates
- Home Record: 31-28
- Road Record: 25-33
- Runs Scored: 503
- Runs Allowed: 581
- Run Differential: -78
- Streak: Won 2
- Last 10: 6-4
The Red Sox have been practically unbeatable over the last two weeks, winning 10 of their last 11 games. Facing their top two challengers in the AL East on the road last week, the club posted a 4-1 record, sweeping a quick two-game series in Tampa Bay before beating the Yankees twice in three games in the Bronx.
The Sunday night clash in New York was among the most dramatic moments of the week. Chris Sale pitched brilliantly, Rafael Devers connected with a 103 mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to tie the game with a home run in the top of the ninth, and Andrew Benintendi, one of the hottest hitters in baseball at the moment, won it with an RBI single in the 10th to clinch the series with a 3-2 victory.