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Howard powers Phillies' sweep over Atlanta

Sunday, June 8, 2008

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Ryan Howard drove in two runs in the ninth inning with his third double of the game and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Howard finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs.

The game was tied at 3 through eight innings, but the Phillies bullied Blaine Boyer (1-4) for four hits and three runs in the ninth, including a single by Shane Victorino that drove in the go-ahead run.

The Phillies boosted their road record to 18-13, best in the National League, and have won 15 of 19 overall.

Philadelphia also improved to 5-1 against the Braves and became the first visiting team to sweep a three-game series in Atlanta this season.

The Braves played without Chipper Jones, who said he has a small tear of his right quadriceps. He also could miss one or two games at the Chicago Cubs this week.

Chad Durbin (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Brad Lidge earned his 17th save with a perfect ninth.

Marlins 9, Reds 2

MIAMI (AP) -- Hanley Ramirez homered twice and Ryan Tucker pitched five effective innings to win his major league debut, leading Florida past Cincinnati.

Ken Griffey Jr. remained one home run shy of becoming the sixth player to reach 600. He went 0-for-1 with two walks before being replaced in the seventh.

Ramirez hit a pair of two-run shots off Aaron Harang (2-9), giving him five homers in his last five games. Dan Uggla had two doubles and three RBIs, and Jorge Cantu added two hits and an RBI for the Marlins.

Tucker (1-0) allowed one run, two hits and five walks (one intentional) in five innings. He struck out six. The right-hander was called up from Double-A Carolina of the Southern League before the game.

Harang gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He has dropped his last four decisions.

Padres 8, Mets 6

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Tony Clark connected for a go-ahead, three-run homer off Billy Wagner with two outs in the eighth inning to give San Diego a four-game sweep of New York.

Wagner (0-1) relieved Duaner Sanchez with two outs and runners on first and second. The left-hander gave up an RBI single to Jody Gerut that cut New York's lead to 6-5. Clark then hit a full-count fastball over the center-field wall to extend the Padres' season-high winning streak to five games.

The pinch-hit homer was the 11th of Clark's career and the first of the season for San Diego. It also deprived a shaky Pedro Martinez of his second win since he returned from the disabled list Tuesday.

The Padres, who have won eight of 11 overall, won their previous four games all by 2-1 scores -- a major league first, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The victory Sunday gave San Diego its first four-game sweep of New York since August 2004.

The staggering Mets (30-32) finished a 2-5 trip to California. New York, a World Series favorite before the season, is fourth in the NL East, 7 1/2 games behind first-place Philadelphia.

It was Wagner's third blown save in 16 chances. He had allowed only one earned run all season.

Carlos Guevara (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for his first major league win. Trevor Hoffman worked the ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances.

Cardinals 5, Astros 4

HOUSTON (AP) -- Brendan Ryan hit a two-run single in the seventh inning to cap a St. Louis comeback fueled by two Houston errors.

Kyle Lohse (7-2) gave up a three-run homer to Lance Berkman, but otherwise pitched six strong innings to beat the Astros for the third time this season. Ryan Franklin struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save.

The Cardinals have won all three series with the Astros this season and 10 of the last 14 meetings.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-2) pitched well for six innings. He and the Astros unraveled in the seventh, when the Cardinals scored five runs to rally from a 3-0 deficit.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 4

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jason Bay's two-run double completed Pittsburgh's five-run fourth inning and the Pirates shook off Mark Reynolds' two home runs to beat Arizona.

Phil Dumatrait (3-3) was pulled after 5 2-3 innings on a sunny and humid 90-degree day, but still made his third consecutive effective start. He gave up two runs and four hits while walking two, and has allowed four earned runs over 18 2-3 innings (1.93 ERA) in his last three starts.

The Diamondbacks won the first two games of the four-game series behind staff aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, but Doug Davis (2-3) -- who has faced the Pirates more than any other starter -- wasn't nearly as effective in his fourth start since having surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid gland.

Matt Capps earned his 14th save in 14 opportunities and his 32nd in 34 chances since becoming the Pirates' closer last season.

Giants 6, Nationals 3

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Barry Zito earned his second win of the season and Ray Durham finished with four hits, leading San Francisco past Washington.

Aaron Rowand's bad-hop single gave San Francisco the go-ahead run and capped a four-run fifth inning. Randy Winn hit a two-run single to tie it, and John Bowker's two-run homer in the seventh sealed the victory. The Giants have won the first three meetings in this four-game series.

Lastings Milledge homered and drove in two runs for Washington, which has lost seven of eight.

Zito (2-9) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. The left-hander has won two of his last three decisions after an 0-8 start.

The Giants' bullpen allowed one hit over the final four innings. Brian Wilson got his 17th save.

Garrett Mock (0-1) started for the Nationals in his major league debut. Mock gave up four runs and three walks in 4 1-3 innings. He was sent back to the minors after the game.

Brewers 3, Rockies 2

DENVER (AP) -- Jeff Suppan and three relievers limited Colorado to six hits as Milwaukee snapped a six-game slide at Coors Field.

Ryan Braun, Bill Hall and Gabe Kapler all had RBI singles for the Brewers. Joe Dillon scored two runs, both times after drawing walks.

Suppan (4-4) pitched 5 1-3 methodical innings, allowing four hits and two runs -- one earned. He tied a season high with five walks but improved to 6-1 against the Rockies.

Salomon Torres got five outs for his seventh save.

Colorado starter Jeff Francis (2-6) struggled early and walked four in six innings.



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