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Phillies homer way past Milwaukee

Sunday, September 14, 2008

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino homered and the Philadelphia Phillies tightened the NL wild-card race by beating Milwaukee 7-3 on Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

Philadelphia defeated the Brewers for the third straight time and pulled within one game of them for the wild-card lead. The finale of the four-game series was set for 7:35 p.m., the result of Friday's night rainout.

Howard hit his major league-leading 44th home run, tying it in the sixth inning. Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead single in the eighth and Victorino had a three-run homer later in the inning.

It was 3-all when Jayson Werth led off the eighth with a single against Guillermo Mota (5-6). Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice bunt and Howard was intentionally walked before Burrell singled off Brian Shouse. Victorino then hit his 12th home run.

Scott Eyre (4-0) got two outs for the victory. Mota had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 14 1-3, spanning 16 appearances.

Braves 7, Mets 4

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fill-in closer Luis Ayala gave up a go-ahead homer to pinch-hitter Greg Norton, and Atlanta rallied for five runs in the ninth inning and a victory that trimmed New York's tenuous NL East lead to 1 1/2 games.

Wasting two homers by David Wright and a strong start from Oliver Perez, the Mets lost for the ninth time in 30 games.

The Mets squandered a seven-game cushion with 17 to play last year, letting Philadelphia charge past them for the division title in one of the worst collapses in baseball history.

Ayala (2-9) began the ninth with a 4-2 lead and allowed consecutive singles to Casey Kotchman and pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson. Norton then drove a full-count delivery into the Mets' right-field bullpen -- appropriately -- for a 5-4 Atlanta edge.

Jorge Julio (2-0) worked a scoreless eighth for the win.

Rockies 1, Dodgers 0, 10 innings

DENVER (AP) -- Troy Tulowitzki singled home the winning run with one out in the 10th to help Colorado end Los Angeles' four-game winning streak.

The Dodgers, who had won 12 of 13, lead Arizona by 4 1/2 games in the NL West.

The Rockies loaded the bases on reliever Hong-Chih Kuo (5-3) on singles by Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins and Ryan Spilborghs, and Tulowitzki lined an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line to end Colorado's seven-game losing streak. Manuel Corpas (3-3) got the win.

Los Angeles starter Greg Maddux retired the first 13 batters and had a perfect game until Atkins singled through the hole at short with one out in the fifth.

Colorado's Aaron Cook allowed eight hits over eight innings.

Reds 2, Diamondbacks 1, 10 innings

PHOENIX (AP) -- Corey Patterson homered to give Cincinnati a win over slumping Arizona.

With one out, the .202-hitting Patterson hit a 3-2 pitch high off the right-field foul pole against Jon Rauch (4-8), sending the Diamondbacks to their eighth loss in nine games.

Patterson's shot was Cincinnati's third hit and ended a string of 19 straight men retired by Diamondbacks pitchers.

David Weathers (4-6) pitched a scoreless ninth. Francisco Cordero gave up a pair of singles in the 10th before striking out Chris Young for his 31st save in 37 chances.

Justin Upton matched a career high with four hits, including a solo homer, for Arizona.

Marlins 8, Nationals 7

MIAMI (AP) -- Josh Willingham drove in the go-ahead run to help Florida rally past Washington.

Trailing 6-1, Florida scored seven runs off four Washington relievers in the eighth to go ahead 8-6.

Andrew Miller (6-9) got the win for Florida and Steven Shell (2-2) took the loss. Arthur Rhodes got his first save.

Washington starter Collin Balester didn't allow a hit for 5 2/3 innings. He gave up one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old struck out five and walked three.

Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 2

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Adam LaRoche drove in three runs with a pair of hits and the Pirates scored three times in both the first and second innings and went on to beat St. Louis for a three-game sweep.

Nate McLouth hit his 25th homer -- his previous major league high was 13 last season -- and had two RBIs as the Pirates all but finished off St. Louis in the NL wild-card race.

The 2006 World Series champions have lost five in a row and 11 of 15. The Cardinals trail three teams for the wild card with only 13 games to play.

T.J. Beam (2-1), the second of five Pittsburgh pitchers, allowed one run over three innings for the victory.

Brad Thompson (5-3) gave up nine hits and six runs in 3 2-3 innings in his fifth start, falling behind 6-0 after two innings as each of the first five Pittsburgh batters reached base.

Giants 8, Padres 6, 10 innings

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Rookie Pablo Sandoval scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 10th inning and San Francisco beat San Diego.

Sandoval led off with a double against rookie Dirk Hayhurst (0-2), the Padres' eighth pitcher. Sandoval went to third on Travis Ishikawa's single to left, and scored when Hayhurst bounced a curveball in the dirt that got away from catcher Nick Hundley.

Rookie Sergio Romo (2-1) pitched the ninth inning for the win. Brian Wilson got the last three outs for his 39th save in 44 chances.

The Giants have won nine of 11.

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