ATLANTA Rafael Furcal homered from both sides of the plate, John Smoltz won his eighth straight decision and Marcus Giles had four hits, leading the Atlanta Braves over the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 Sunday to cap a successful July.
Atlanta was 4 1/2 games off the NL East lead at the end of June, then went 18-8 and began Sunday with a season-high five-game division lead. The Braves are 6-0 on a homestand that ends with Monday's finale of the four-game series against Pittsburgh.
Nationals 4, Marlins 2
MIAMI Livan Hernandez allowed two runs in eight innings and added a run-scoring single, helping Washington end a season-high six-game losing streak.
Nick Johnson hit his ninth homer and drove in two runs for the Nationals, who avoided a three-game sweep and remained five games behind Atlanta in the NL East.
Astros 9, Mets 4
HOUSTON Ramon Castro's bloop single in the eighth inning gave the Mets their first lead in three games, then they piled on four more runs in the ninth to end Houston's seven-game winning streak.
The Astros lost for just the second time in 15 games. They went 22-7 in July, riding that to the top of the NL wild card standings.
Brewers 5, Giants 1
MILWAUKEE Chris Capuano took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and won his seventh straight decision, and Milwaukee took advantage of wildness by San Francisco's pitchers.
Capuano (12-6) allowed two hits in eight innings, improving to 7-0 in nine starts since losing to Tampa Bay on June 13. It is the longest winning streak by a Brewers pitcher since reliever Curtis Leskanic won seven straight decisions in 2000.
Diamondbacks 13, Cubs 6
CHICAGO Chris Snyder hit two of Arizona's season-high five homers, including his first career grand slam, and drove in five runs.
Luis Gonzalez added a pair of solo homers and an RBI double for the Diamondbacks, who knocked out Greg Maddux by scoring nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings and matched their highest-scoring game of the season.
Rockies 9, Phillies 2
DENVER Dustan Mohr had a double and a homer in Colorado's nine-run fifth inning as the Rockies avoided a four-game sweep.
Jeff Francis (10-7) had another of his usual, solid outings at Coors Field, matching his career high with eight strikeouts and shutting out the Phillies on four hits over six innings. He became the first National League rookie to win 10 games this season, and improved to 8-2 this year at home.
Reds 7, Padres 1
SAN DIEGO Adam Dunn's grand slam in the fifth inning was Cincinnati's third homer of the game, and the Reds dropped the Padres percentage points behind Arizona in the NL West.
Wily Mo Pena and Rich Aurilia also homered to complete the three-game sweep for the Reds, who have won a season-high five straight. Eric Milton (5-11) threw seven scoreless innings.
Cardinals 7, Dodgers 5
LOS ANGELES Jim Edmonds drove in three runs with a pinch RBI double in the seventh inning and a two-run homer in the 11th, and St. Louis beat Los Angeles.
Mark Grudzielanek hit a three-run homer against his former team, and Cal Eldred (1-0) pitched two innings of one-hit relief for the victory.
Jason Isringhausen got three outs for his 29th save in 32 attempts and his 130th with the Cardinals, moving past Todd Worrell for second place on the team list behind Lee Smith's 160.
Wilson Alvarez (1-4) walked Abraham Nunez with one out in the 11th and Edmonds, who was scheduled for a day off, connected on a 3-2 pitch for his 20th homer, his third in four games.
Ricky Ledee, who struck out with the bases loaded as a pinch-hitter in the sixth against Al Reyes, tied the score in the eighth against Ray King with his second three-run homer of the series.
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