ST. LOUIS – Jorge Soler hit two homers and fellow rookie Javier Baez had a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning off All-Star reliever Pat Neshek, as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 on Friday.
The Cardinals lost in the return of star catcher Yadier Molina. He had been out since July 9 because of a torn ligament in his right thumb, and went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.
The crowd at Busch Stadium gave Molina a standing ovation when he walked in from the bullpen after pregame warmups, and another cheer before he batted in the first inning.
Neshek (6-1) led NL relievers with an 0.81 ERA entering the game. It was 2-all when he came in to begin the eighth, and he gave up hits to the first three batters.
Neil Ramirez (2-1) allowed two hits in a scoreless seventh.
Tigers 7, White Sox 1: Justin Verlander turned in one of his most effective outings this year and once again beat the White Sox in Chicago.
The contending Tigers won for the fifth time in six games. Chicago has lost nine of 10.
Verlander (12-11) beat the White Sox for the 14th time in 18 decisions since June 10, 2009 – the most wins by any pitcher against a single team in that span.
The former AL MVP allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings. It was the first time this year that he allowed fewer than two runs in a game.
Verlander matched his season high with eight strikeouts and walked two.
Scott Carroll (5-9) took the loss, but didn’t get much support in the field.