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Phillies increase lead in NL East

Sunday, September 21, 2008

By The Associated Press

MIAMI -- Jamie Moyer pitched six sharp innings and the Philadelphia Phillies increased their lead in the NL East, beating the Florida Marlins 5-2 Sunday and taking 1 1/2-game edge over the New York Mets.

At 45, Moyer (15-7) is the oldest player in the majors. Five relievers finished, with Brad Lidge closing for his 40th save in 40 chances.

The Phillies won for the ninth time in 10 games. They return home for the final week -- three games against the Braves and three against Washington.

Florida remained five games behind the Mets in the wild-card race with seven games left.

Chase Utley hit his 32nd home run, his first since Aug. 22, and Pedro Feliz added his 14th. The Phillies set a franchise record by hitting a homer in their 17th straight game.

Chris Volstad (5-4) took the loss.

Braves 7, Mets 6

ATLANTA (AP) -- Scott Schoeneweis and the Mets bullpen blew another late lead, with the Atlanta rallying for four runs in the eighth inning and a win that stalled New York's playoff push.

The Mets' lead in the wild-card race was cut to 1 1/2 games by Milwaukee, which beat Cincinnati 8-1.

Down 4-3, Atlanta struck in the eighth against Schoeneweis (2-5) and three relievers. It was the latest collapse for a beleaguered bullpen missing injured closer Billy Wagner.

Carlos Delgado hit a two-run homer in the Mets ninth off Mike Gonzalez. The right-hander with the unusual rocking motion struck out the next two batters for his 13th save in 15 chances.

Giants 1, Dodgers 0

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rich Aurilia hit a two-out, RBI single in the 11th inning for San Francisco, trimming the Los Angeles Dodgers' lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games over Arizona.

The loss was just the fifth in 21 games for the Dodgers. Any combination of five Los Angeles wins or losses by the Diamondbacks will give the Dodgers their first division title since 2004.

Sergio Romo (3-1) pitched three perfect innings to earn the victory. Brian Wilson worked a 1-2-3 11th for his 40th save in 45 chances. The Giants retired the last 16 Los Angeles batters in order after Blake DeWitt's two-out single in the sixth.

Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 4

DENVER (AP) -- Chris Young drove in four runs and Arizona kept its postseason push going.

Young hit a single in the first inning, a solo homer in the second and a three-run triple over Ryan Spilborghs' outstretched glove in the fifth.

The Diamondbacks center fielder had two more shots to get the cycle with a double, but he drew a walk in seventh and lined sharply to third baseman Jeff Baker in his final at-bat in the ninth.

Brewers 8, Reds 1

Prince Fielder homered and drove in three runs, helping Milwaukee end one of its most bizarre weeks in its history with a victory that provided little solace for a fading team.

The Brewers won for only the fifth time in 20 games, a September self-destruct that has made them a long shot for the playoffs.

Fielder, who struck out with the bases loaded to end Saturday's 4-3 loss, hit his fifth home run during a 12-game hitting streak. He also had a two-run double.

Todd Coffey (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the fourth, then stared toward the announcing booths so intently as he walked off the mound that he went off course. The reliever was booed by fans and harshly criticized by a Reds broadcaster when he pitched in Cincinnati.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 1

CHICAGO (AP) -- Ryan Dempster earned his 17th victory as the Chicago Cubs kept on winning a day after clinching the NL Central title, beating St. Louis in their regular-season wrapup at Wrigley Field.

The victory means the Cubs (94-60) need one more win to ensure home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.

Dempster (17-6) worked five innings, giving up six hits and a run, as the Cubs turned to a starting lineup of mostly reserves. The exception was slumping Kosuke Fukudome, who hit leadoff so he could get more at-bats and try to get out of his funk -- he had two hits and also made a strong throw from right field to cut down a run.

Astros 6, Pirates 2

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Roy Oswalt held the Pirates to one run in six innings and backup catcher Brad Ausmus drove in two runs to lead Houston over Pittsburgh.

Miguel Tejada had three hits and drove in a run as the Astros took two of three in Pittsburgh to win a series for the first time since Hurricane Ike forced them to move an important set against the Cubs to Milwaukee.

Houston lost six of seven after that to all but fall out of the NL wild-card race. Padres 6, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Adrian Gonzalez's 35th homer and Kevin Kouzmanoff's three RBIs backed Cha Seung Baek's strong start, and San Diego swept a three-game series between the NL's worst teams.

It's the first road sweep by San Diego since July 24-26, 2006, at Dodger Stadium.

Baek (6-9) allowed one run over seven innings. Odalis Perez (7-11) tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts, including five in a row.

Both clubs entered this series 58-95, but San Diego outscored Washington by a combined total of 23-9.

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