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Nationals edge Braves

Posted: Wednesday, June 01, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals' slumping offense really got going once it got a chance to face the Atlanta Braves' bullpen.

Nick Johnson hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning, and Washington scored all of its runs off relievers in a 5-4 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night.

Phillies 5, Giants 2

PHILADELPHIA — Randy Wolf pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning, and Chase Utley had a two-run single to lead Philadelphia.

Wolf (5-4) allowed six hits, struck out five and walked three in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander won his fourth straight decision, matching his win total for last season. Ryan Madson got four outs and Billy Wagner worked the ninth, allowing a two-run homer to Jason Ellison.

Pirates 5, Marlins 4

PITTSBURGH — Daryle Ward hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Pirates withstood a shaky start by Oliver Perez to hand the Marlins their eighth consecutive loss in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates trailed 2-1 and 4-3 as the Marlins hit three solo home runs off Perez — by Carlos Delgado, Juan Encarnacion and Miguel Cabrera — but took the lead after reliever Nate Bump (0-2) retired the first two batters in the seventh.

Diamondbacks 7, Mets 0

NEW YORK — Rookie left-hander Brad Halsey shut out New York for seven innings, Jose Cruz Jr. gave Arizona a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning with his sixth home run of the season and Craig Counsell delivered two runs with a two-out single in the sixth.

Then the Diamondbacks put it away with three more runs in the seventh.

Astros 4, Reds 3

HOUSTON — Brandon Backe remained unbeaten at home as a starter and sparked a two-run fifth-inning rally to lead Houston.

Backe (5-3) improved to 7-0 in nine career starts — all Houston wins — at Minute Maid Park. Backe, who broke into the starting rotation last season, is 8-1 at home in his career.

Rockies 2, Cardinals 1

DENVER — Jason Jennings became the winningest pitcher in Coors Field history, allowing one run over seven innings to Colorado snap a four-game losing skid.

Dustan Mohr and Todd Greene hit back-to-back homers in the fourth to give Jennings (3-6) the runs he needed to win his 25th game at Coors, passing Pedro Astacio. With the win, the Rockies snapped Mark Mulder's seven-game winning streak.

Padres 8, Brewers 4

SAN DIEGO — Geoff Blum and the San Diego Padres have never been better than they were in May.

Blum hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-4 Tuesday night, their 22nd victory in May.

San Diego was 22-6 in May, setting the club record for victories in a month.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 1

LOS ANGELES — Carlos Zambrano allowed just one hit in a game for the third time this season.

For the second time, he wound up with nothing to show for it.

Zambrano and two relievers combined on a one-hitter, Neifi Perez drove in the go-ahead run with a one-out single in the 10th inning, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games.

Pinch-hitter Michael Barrett singled off Yhency Brazoban (2-1), the third Dodgers' pitcher, to start the 10th and Todd Hollandsworth sacrificed. Perez then sliced a single to left to drive in Barrett.

Michael Wuertz (4-2) blanked the Dodgers in the ninth, and Ryan Dempster worked the 10th for his second save in two nights and sixth in seven chances.

Zambrano allowed only one hit in eight innings — a bloop double by Cesar Izturis in the third that drove in the Dodgers' run. Zambrano walked two, struck out nine and threw 123 pitches.

''He was nasty,'' Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. ''When I went out to make a double-switch (in the ninth inning), the umpire (Ed Rapuano) told me, 'He pitched a heck of a game.' That he did.''

It was the third time in Zambrano's 11 starts this season that he allowed just one hit — the first was over 7 1-3 innings in a 4-0 victory over Milwaukee on April 9, and the second was over seven innings in a 5-3 loss to the White Sox on May 21 in a game where Zambrano got a no-decision.

''Every pitch is working for me right now,'' Zambrano said. ''When you feel like that, you're going to have a good game. I did my job, pitching eight innings. The most important thing is, we won the game.''

It appeared the ball hit by Izturis was going to be caught when it left the bat. But the Cubs were a bit slow to react.

''That ball was at the time of the day playing here where it's tough to see,'' Baker said.

Left fielder Jason Dubois and shortstop Perez agreed.

''We really didn't get a good read off the bat,'' Dubois said. ''The ball was over Neifi's head. Me and (center fielder) Corey (Patterson), we didn't see it.'

Perez said he got a good jump, but lost the ball in the twilight.

The Dodgers had only four baserunners off Zambrano — Hee-Seop Choi and Izturis in the third; J.D. Drew, who walked to begin the fourth, and Antonio Perez, who drew a two-out walk in the seventh.

The Cubs made several fine fielding plays to back Zambrano, including two outstanding catches of bloopers in short left field by Perez.

''He's tough,'' Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said of Zambrano. ''I mean, you hear a lot of talk about Kerry Wood and Mark Prior — and rightfully so — but this guy doesn't have to take a back seat to anyone. He is, in my opinion, one of the better guys in our league.''

The loss was the 11th in 16 games for the Dodgers, who fell 6 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead against Brad Penny in the second when Aramis Ramirez singled, took third on a one-out double by Dubois and scored on Henry Blanco's infield out.

The Dodgers got an unearned run in the third. Choi struck out to start the inning, but reached first on Blanco's passed ball. Zambrano retired the next two batters before Izturis' blooper to left-center drove in Choi.

Penny allowed six hits and one run in a season-high eight innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. He walked none, struck out three and threw 108 pitches.

''It's fun to pitch games like that,'' Penny said. ''You want to go out and show you can beat these guys. Any time you get a chance to pitch against a guy like (Zambrano), the caliber of pitcher he is, you've got to be on top of your game.''

Notes: An MRI revealed that Dodgers OF Milton Bradley has a slight ligament tear in his right ring finger. Tracy said Bradley will be sidelined at least until Friday. ''They will put him in a brace over the next three days,'' Tracy said. ''Beyond that, we'll find out if he can swing a bat and go on from there.'' Bradley, injured Sunday in Arizona, is hitting .298 with a team-leading 10 homers and 26 RBIs. ... Dodgers C Mike Rose made his first big-league start and went 0-for-4. The 28-year-old catcher struck out in his only two previous big-league at bats, with Oakland last season. He began his professional career in 1995. ... Blanco's passed ball was the Cubs' first of the season, leaving the Colorado Rockies as the only major league team without a passed ball. ... By winning the last two nights, the Cubs have a 931-930 record against the Dodgers since 1900. ... The Dodgers were held to one hit for the first time since Sept. 14, 1999, when Montreal's Javier Vazquez one-hit them.



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