Astros' Oliver helps his squad post shutout of Cincinnati

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

CINCINNATI Darren Oliver (3-3), acquired from Florida on July 22, made his first start for the Astros and allowed only Adam Dunn's single in five innings, setting up an 8-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The day started with the Reds beating the Astros 3-2 in 13 innings, completing a game suspended overnight because of rain.

Three Astros combined on a four-hitter, and Carlos Beltran and Mike Lamb homered in a six-run ninth inning that assured the Astros of a split. Brandon Claussen (1-1) lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up three hits and five walks in his third start for the Reds.

A tiny crowd was on hand when the teams handled the first order of business picking up a game suspended Friday night in the sixth inning with the score tied at 2.

Josh Hancock (1-1) was acquired late Friday from Philadelphia and didn't arrive until shortly after the game resumed Saturday morning in the top of the sixth with the score tied at 2. He got the win after catcher Jason LaRue doubled in the 13th inning.

Phillies 4, Cubs 3

CHICAGO Mike Lieberthal and Bobby Abreu each hit two-run homers following Chicago errors, helping the Philadelphia Phillies end their five-game losing skid.

The Phillies trailed Atlanta by a half game in the NL East when they were swept in a four-game series by the Florida Marlins before losing 10-7 to the Cubs on Friday night.

Kevin Millwood (9-6) pitched 6 2-3 solid innings, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. He allowed three runs two earned and three hits while striking out eight.

Tim Worrell pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 15 chances.

Matt Clement (8-10) struck out 10 and walked just one, allowed four runs two earned and four hits in seven innings.

Pirates 4, Brewers 1

MILWAUKEE Ryan Vogelsong started for the traded Kris Benson and threw five strong innings.

Vogelsong (3-7) gave up three hits and one run in his first start since June 23, when he was sent to the bullpen following a seven-game losing streak. He struck out four and walked one.

Benson was traded to the New York Mets on Friday in a five-player deal in which the Pirates obtained infielders Ty Wigginton and Jose Bautista and pitcher Matt Peterson. Wigginton made his first start for Pittsburgh at third base and went 0-for-4.

Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 32 chances.

Victor Santos (9-6) gave up four runs on seven hits and struck out six in five innings, his shortest outing since June 20.

Braves 8, Mets 0

ATLANTA Jaret Wright stayed undefeated in July and Johnny Estrada homered to spoil the Mets debut of Kris Benson.

The Mets acquired Benson from Pittsburgh a day earlier, hoping he would solidify their rotation. Pitching against the Braves for third straight start, Benson (8-9) lasted only five innings and lost for the second time in a row.

He beat Atlanta 4-3 on July 21 as a member of the Pirates, allowing only two runs on five hits in eight innings. In Benson's next outing, he went six innings in a 4-2 loss. The Braves tagged him for seven runs on seven hits in this one as the Mets lost for the 13th time in their past 18 games, and fell eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

Wright (9-5) allowed three hits in seven innings, and improved to 4-0 this month.

Expos 8, Marlins 5

MIAMI Terrmel Sledge hit his first career grand slam after Paul Lo Duca hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for Florida.

Lo Duca, acquired with two other players from the Dodgers on Friday, joined the Marlins in their dugout in the fifth inning and entered the game in the sixth as a pinch-hitter. He homered to put Florida ahead 5-4 and received a loud ovation from the fans. Lo Duca stayed in the game as the Marlins catcher.

In the seventh, the Expos loaded the bases against relievers Matt Perisho and Josias Manzanillo (3-3). Sledge hit Manzanillo's first pitch over the wall in right to give the Expos an 8-5 lead. Earlier, Sledge ended an 0-for-21 slump with a single in the fourth.

Rocky Biddle (3-5) pitched one inning for the Expos.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 4

DENVER Shawn Estes pitched six solid innings and Colorado took advantage of Arizona's shoddy defense in a five-run sixth inning. Colorado has won five straight over Arizona and seven of nine overall.

Arizona starter Brandon Webb (4-12) cruised along nicely in the first five innings, giving up just three hits and a run. But it all fell apart in the sixth. Webb allowed six hits and six runs, but just one was earned. He lost for the seventh time in eight decisions.

Estes (11-4) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning and benefited from two double plays to win for the fifth time in six decisions. He gave up two runs and five hits.

Padres 3, Dodgers 2

SAN DIEGO Phil Nevin's infield single drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

Jay Payton and Mark Loretta also had RBIs for the Padres, who overcame a home run by Dodgers starter Kazuhisa Ishii and pulled within 2 1/2 games of first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.

Terrence Long led off with a single off Darren Dreifort (1-2) and took second on Khalil Greene's sacrifice. Pinch-hitter Sean Burroughs walked and Loretta followed with a tying single. Burroughs took third on center fielder Milton Bradley's error before Nevin's slow roller up the third-base line scored Burroughs when third baseman Adrian Beltre was unable to field it.

Giants 8, Cardinals 7

SAN FRANCISCO Ray Durham's bases-loaded triple capped the Giants' eight-run first inning, and San Francisco held on for a victory.

Matt Morris got just two outs in a disastrous start for St. Louis, allowing seven hits and a walk and hitting another of the 11 batters he faced. San Francisco snapped its three-game losing streak despite getting just four hits after the first.

Jim Edmonds tied a career high with four hits, including a homer, and drove in four runs. Scott Rolen also homered, but the Cardinals' rally fell just short as their five-game winning streak was snapped.

Moments after Rolen hit his 24th homer off Giants closer Matt Herges in the ninth, Edmonds doubled and scored on pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno's single to trim San Francisco's early eight-run lead to 8-7.

But John Mabry grounded into a double play before Jason Christiansen gave up a single to Yadier Molina. Christiansen then got Tony Womack to ground out for his third save in four chances.

J.T. Snow had a two-run double during the Giants' first-inning rally, and Kirk Rueter (6-8) survived five rocky innings for his first win in four starts.

Morris (11-7) pitched a shutout against the Giants last Sunday, but he walked leadoff hitter Durham and never recovered. He had won four straight starts and seven of his last eight before this collapse, which raised the longtime staff ace's ERA from 4.33 to 4.82 in two-thirds of an inning.

Snow's double scored Durham and Michael Tucker with the Giants' first runs. After Barry Bonds grounded out, six of the next seven batters reached base. A.J. Pierzynski and Marquis Grissom had run-scoring singles before Durham cleared the bases and scored on Tucker's double.

It was the Giants' biggest first inning since scoring nine runs at Colorado on July 2, 2002.

Dan Haren replaced Morris with 4 1-3 scoreless innings, and St. Louis pulled within 8-3 on two run-scoring hits by Edmonds, along with So Taguchi's sacrifice fly.

Rueter allowed nine hits and three runs while improving to 10-4 against the Cardinals, but was forced to pitch out of jams in every inning except the fourth. St. Louis stranded eight runners in Rueter's five innings.

Edmonds hit a two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Jim Brower, clobbered for four runs by the Cardinals a night earlier. John Mabry also had three hits for St. Louis.

Ricky Ledee dressed but didn't play for the Giants, who acquired him from Philadelphia on Friday for reliever Felix Rodriguez.

Notes: Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk. ... OF Reggie Sanders strained a muscle in his left ribcage during batting practice, forcing the Cardinals to scratch him from a scheduled start. ... The Giants put RHP Jerome Williams on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his right arm. They recalled rookie RHP Merkin Valdez, one of their top pitching prospects, from Double-A Norwich to take Williams' roster spot. ... San Francisco's biggest inning of the season was a nine-run effort in the fourth against Atlanta on April 28.

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