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Cardinals and Brewers post NL Central wins

Sunday, July 13, 2008

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies held their NL East lead heading into the All-Star break, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 Sunday.

The Phillies began the day with a half-game edge over both Florida and the New York Mets. Arizona still leads the NL West, albeit with a 47-48 record.

After starters Brandon Webb and Cole Hamels left after the seventh with the score tied at 2, the Phillies broke away.

Brewers 3, Reds 2

MILWAUKEE -- CC Sabathia homered in his first National League complete game to help Milwaukee avoid being swept by Cincinnati.

Sabathia hit a home run off Reds starter Homer Bailey in the third, his third career home run and second this season. He became the first pitcher to hit home runs in both leagues in one season since Earl Wilson did it in 1970 for Detroit and San Diego, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

After allowing run-scoring sacrifice flies to David Ross in the second and Adam Dunn in the third, Sabathia (2-0) shut down Cincinnati, striking out nine batters, all from the fourth inning on. He struck out the side in the ninth.

The game was tied at 2 in the ninth when pinch-hitter Craig Counsell hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to help the Brewers avoid being a three-game sweep to end the first half of the season.

David Weathers (2-5) took the loss.

Giants 4, Cubs 2

CHICAGO -- Tim Lincecum tossed eight strong innings to hand fellow All-Star Ryan Dempster his first loss at Wrigley Field, leading San Francisco over Chicago.

Dempster (10-4), one of eight Cubs selected for Tuesday's game at Yankee Stadium, entered with a 10-0 record in 11 home starts this season, but was upstaged by another brilliant start by Lincecum (11-2). The Giants right-hander struck out nine, allowed one runs and six hits and also drove in a run with his first career triple.

Cardinals 11, Pirates 6

PITTSBURGH -- Aaron Miles drove in five runs with a home run and a triple and St. Louis held off a Pittsburgh comeback this time.

After Pittsburgh rallied for the second day in a row and took a 6-5 lead on Chris Gomez's two-run double in the sixth, Miles finished St. Louis' four-run, go-ahead seventh with a two-run triple.

Ryan Ludwick added his 21st homer, a solo shot in the eighth that was his third in as many games. Troy Glaus completed a 10-for-13 weekend with a home run.

Franquelis Osoria (3-3), brought in to protect the Pirates' one-run lead in the seventh, allowed five of the six batters he faced to reach base.

Russ Springer (2-0), Kyle McClellan and Ryan Franklin combined for 3 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of Joel Pineiro.

Astros 5, Nationals 0

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Brandon Backe pitched seven-plus innings and helped himself with a pair of hits to lead Houston over Washington in a pre-All-Star break battle of last-place teams.

Backe (6-9) raised his batting average to .345 while lowering his ERA to 4.76. He scored after leading off the third inning with a double, then singled and scored in the seventh. He even attempted a suicide squeeze in the fourth, but fouled the pitch off and then struck out.

Ty Wigginton hit his eighth home run of the season and Carlos Lee had three RBIs for the Astros, who took two of three from the Nationals and finished 4-5 on their road trip leading into the break.

The Nationals, who have baseball's worst record and worst offense, were shut out for the 12th time, most in the majors. Washington has lost 10 of 13, and three of the losses were shutouts.

Nationals starter Odalis Perez (2-7) allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings.

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