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Nationals go to Sunday Church

Posted: Monday, June 06, 2005


  Arizona Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez is hit by a pitch from Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner in the ninth inning Sunday, June 5, 2005, in Philadelphia. Gonzalez hit his 300th career home run - a solo shot in the eighth - but the Phillies beat the Diamondbacks, their sixth straight win. AP Photo/George Widman

Arizona Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez is hit by a pitch from Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner in the ninth inning Sunday, June 5, 2005, in Philadelphia. Gonzalez hit his 300th career home run - a solo shot in the eighth - but the Phillies beat the Diamondbacks, their sixth straight win.

AP Photo/George Widman

WASHINGTON — Ryan Church hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, lifting the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 win Sunday that completed a sweep of the Florida Marlins.

The win, coupled with Atlanta's loss to Pittsburgh, put a team called Washington in first place this late in the season for the first time since 1933, when the Washington Senators won the American League pennant.

Church's homer off reliever Matt Perisho broke a 3-all tie and gave the Nationals their seventh win in eight games. They trailed in all seven victories, including 2-0 Sunday against Marlins starter A.J. Burnett, who appeared to be cruising toward a shutout before allowing three runs in the seventh.

The Nationals have come from behind for 21 of their 31 victories.

Luis Ayala (5-3) pitched one inning for the victory, even though he allowed a run that tied the game in the top of the eighth. Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 15th save.

John Riedling (2-1) took the loss.

Astros 6, Cardinals 4

HOUSTON — Roger Clemens won his 332nd game with some rare run support.

Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane homered during a five-run first inning and Willy Taveras had a career-high four hits to help Clemens (4-3) overcome some early struggles and outlast St. Louis lefty Mark Mulder, who lost his second straight after a seven-game winning streak.

Russ Springer and Dan Wheeler combined to pitch three scoreless innings and Brad Lidge got three outs for his 13th save in 15 chances, snapping Houston's five-game losing streak to the NL Central-leading Cardinals.

Clemens won despite enduring his worst outing of the season, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked one for his first victory since May 14 against San Francisco.

Mulder (7-3) tied a season high by allowing six runs on eight hits in three innings, his shortest outing of the year.

Pirates 5, Braves 2

PITTSBURGH — Rob Mackowiak hit a go-ahead two-run homer, Matt Lawton added a solo shot and Oliver Perez pitched seven strong innings.

Perez (4-4) allowed just four hits and won his third consecutive decision since missing a start with shoulder soreness. He struck out seven and walked three to help the Pirates win for the fifth time in seven games.

Mackowiak, who had three hits, followed Daryle Ward's leadoff double in the sixth with his sixth homer, a drive into the right-field seats off reliever Adam Benero (3-1).

Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.

The Braves scored only four runs in the three-game series and lost their fifth in seven games and seventh in 10.

Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 6

PHILADELPHIA — Mike Lieberthal hit a disputed three-run homer and Randy Wolf pitched seven solid innings to lead the Phillies to their sixth straight win.

Arizona's Luis Gonzalez hit his 300th career home run — a solo shot in the eighth off reliever Rheal Cormier.

Pat Burrell homered for the Phillies, who have won nine of 10. The Diamondbacks lost their fifth straight.

Lieberthal's home run came during a four-run second inning against Brad Halsey (4-3).

With runners on second and third, Lieberthal hit a flyball that appeared to hit the top of the left-field fence and bounce back onto the field. Third base umpire Dale Scott ruled it a double.

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel came out to argue that the ball had landed in the flower box just beyond the fence and should have been a homer. The umpires then convened and awarded Lieberthal the home run.

Arizona manager Bob Melvin was ejected for arguing the overturned call.

Wolf (6-4) allowed two runs on five hits en route to his fifth straight win.

Dodgers 10, Brewers 6

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Kent had four hits and four RBIs and Jayson Werth had a two-run triple among his four hits for the Dodgers.

Kent, went 4-for-4 and drove in a run with each of his hits, helping the defending NL West champions back to the .500 mark at home (15-15).

Brad Penny (3-2) won for the first time in six starts. The right-hander allowed five runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Carlos Lee went 5-for-5 for Milwaukee, but Wes Obermueller (1-1) lasted only 2 2-3 innings in the loss.

Cubs 4, Padres 0

SAN DIEGO — Carlos Zambrano pitched seven scoreless innings to help Chicago win for the ninth time in 10 games.

The Cubs took three of four from the NL West-leading Padres — including two shutouts — and went 6-1 on a swing through Los Angeles and San Diego.

Big league batting leader Derrek Lee went 3-for-5 with two doubles, raising his average to .385.

Zambrano (4-3) allowed just three singles in seven innings, struck out seven and walked four.

San Diego's Woody Williams (2-3) lost in his first start since May 1. He allowed one run on four hits in five innings.

Rockies 8, Reds 6

DENVER — Todd Greene homered and had three RBIs in Colorado's fourth straight victory.

Blaine Neal (1-1) earned the win and Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

Clint Barmes added a solo homer for Colorado, while Sean Casey went deep for the Reds.

Ryan Wagner (2-2) took the loss for Cincinnati, which has lost 14 of 17 on the road.

Giants 6, Mets 3, 1st game

Mets 12, Giants 1, 2nd game

NEW YORK — Cliff Floyd homered twice and drove in four runs, Kris Benson pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and the Mets routed San Francisco for a doubleheader split.

In the opener, Brett Tomko (5-7) just about ended San Francisco's eight-game losing streak all by himself. He hit a three-run double and pitched into the eighth.

But ace Jason Schmidt (3-2) followed with a dud in the nightcap, lasting only four innings. He threw 98 pitches, gave up six runs and walked four — including Benson with the bases loaded.

In fact, it was a big day at the plate for pitchers. The starters combined for five RBIs and four hits, including a pair of doubles.

David Wright homered and scored three times for the Mets, and Victor Diaz also connected. Jose Reyes finished with three hits and scored three times.

Benson (4-2) yielded only Pedro Feliz's RBI single and earned his fourth win in five starts.

Kazuhisa Ishii (1-4) lost in the opener.

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