Josh Bell mashes 3 home runs, Pirates thrash Cubs 18-5

Josh Bell certainly looks ready for the Home Run Derby. Pittsburgh’s All-Star first baseman hit three home runs to boost his season total to 25, leading the Pirates to an 18-5 rout over the Cubs in Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Bell, who will be part of the eight-man Derby field in Cleveland next Tuesday, hit a three-run shot off rookie Adbert Alzolay in the first, a two-run drive off Alzolay in the second and finished off a four-hit, seven-RBI night by taking new Chicago closer Craig Kimbrel deep in the eighth.

Bell carried the injury-thinned Pirates through May, when he smacked a dozen home runs and was selected National League Player of the Month. He cooled off in June, hitting .208. Yet the Pirates stayed within striking distance in the crowded NL Central, thanks in part to a resurgent offense.

“I feel like we did a good job of showing what we can do this past month and you know tonight, it all came together one through nine,” Bell said.

Adam Frazier finished 5-for-6 and tied a major-league record with four doubles. Colin Moran had a career-high five hits as Pittsburgh boosted its team batting average to .268, fourth in the majors.

Blue Jays 11, Royals 4: Freddy Galvis hit two solo home runs, rookie Cavan Biggio had four RBIs and host Toronto beat Kansas City on Canada Day. Randal Grichuk had four hits and four RBIs and Teoscar Hernandez added a solo home run.

Rays 6, Orioles 3: Kevin Kiermaier’s three-run homer lifted host Tampa Bay over Baltimore in a game in which two-way player Brandon McKay went 0-for-4 in his major-league debut as a hitter for the Rays. McKay, who gave up one hit in six scoreless innings Saturday night in his major-league pitching debut against the Rangers, grounded out four times and was picked off second base on a throw from catcher Pedro Severino.

Brewers 8, Reds 6: Christian Yelich singled with the bases loaded and hit his major-league-leading 30th homer, helping Milwaukee rally for its sixth straight victory at Great American Ball Park. The Brewers overcame a pair of two-run homers by Eugenio Suarez, who has three in the past two games.

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