By The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Zambrano allowed four hits over eight innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Friday night, the Cardinals' eighth straight loss.
Chicago, which survived a wild ninth inning that ended with the bases loaded, won for the fifth time in seven games and opened a 1 1/2-game lead over second-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
St. Louis is six behind the Cubs.
Zambrano (16-12) won his second straight start after losing five in a row and tied his career best for wins.
Mark DeRosa's RBI single in the fourth put the Cubs ahead against Adam Wainwright (13-11), but Albert Pujols ended a 20-game, 75-at-bat homerless drought in the sixth.
Cliff Floyd homered leading off the seventh for the Cubs. While he has just eight home runs this season, he's connected in three straight games.
Pinch-hitter Daryle Ward hit a three-run double off Jason Isringhausen in the ninth for a 5-1 lead.
Jim Edmonds hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth off Ryan Dempster, and Ryan Ludwick added a homer with two outs, but Aaron Miles grounded out with the bases loaded giving Bob Howry his eighth save.
Wainwright (13-11) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Reds 6, Brewers 5
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Brandon Phillips drove in three runs and Adam Dunn hit his 39th homer to lead Cincinnati to its fourth straight victory.
Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 45th home run in the fourth to tie the Brewers' franchise record, but Milwaukee came up a run short with a ninth-inning rally.
The Brewers fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central.
Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets (12-5) allowed four runs in the first inning, a two-run single by Phillips and a two-run homer by Dunn.
Cincinnati added another run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Phillips.
Bill Bray of the Reds worked the ninth for his first save of the season but he allowed the Brewers to get within 6-5. With two outs, Corey Hart reached on a bunt single and pinch-hitter Mike Rivera homered, but Bray got Kevin Mench on a foul pop to end it.
Tom Shearn (3-0) allowed four hits, including Fielder's 425-foot shot in the fourth.
Phillies 3, Mets 2, 10 innings
NEW YORK (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs' sacrifice fly in the 10th inning gave Philadelphia the win in the opener of three-game series.
Philadelphia's major league-leading 44th come-from-behind win cut first-place New York's lead in the NL East to 5 1/2 games. The Phillies were 1 1/2 games behind wild card-leading San Diego entering play.
Jayson Werth led off the 10th with a single off Aaron Heilman (7-7) and advanced on a sacrifice error and a sacrifice before Dobbs' run-scoring fly ball.
Tom Gordon (3-2) struck out three in 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win and Brett Myers got three outs for his 16th save.
Chase Utley homered to tie it at 2 in the sixth, giving Philadelphia five players with 20 or more homers for the first time in franchise history.
Moises Alou had an RBI single in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to a team-best 18 games.
Pirates 4, Astros 3
HOUSTON (AP) -- Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer and Ronny Paulino added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh rallied for the win.
The Pirates trailed 2-1 after Lance Berkman hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Reliever Chad Qualls (6-5) started the eighth and gave up a single to Freddy Sanchez. After a forceout, Bautista homered off the foul pole in left, the first runs given up by Houston's bullpen in 16 innings. Paulino's single made it 4-2.
Houston rookie Josh Anderson had an RBI single in the eighth off Shawn Chacon, but Matt Capps pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.
Pittsburgh reliever Romulo Sanchez (1-0) got one out for his first major league win.
Houston lost to the Pirates for the 10th time in 13 meetings this season.
The Astros have lost eight of nine and 11 of 16 since Cecil Cooper replaced Phil Garner as manager on Aug. 27.