CHICAGO Chris Carpenter pitched a complete game to become the first 17-game winner in the major leagues, and Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer Saturday in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Carpenter (17-4) threw an eight-hitter for his major league-leading sixth complete game, striking out eight and walking none to trim his ERA to 2.25. Jon Garland of the Chicago White Sox had 16 wins going into his start Saturday night against Boston.
Carpenter gave up six hits in the first three innings, but quickly settled down to win his ninth straight decision. He retired 13 of 14 hitters between the third and seventh.
Braves 9, Diamondbacks 5
ATLANTA Chipper Jones had three hits, including a go-ahead double in the seventh inning, and Julio Franco drove in a season-high four runs to lead Atlanta past Arizona.
Only 10 days shy of his 47th birthday, Franco hit a three-run homer to help the Braves avoid their first three-game home losing streak this year.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Langerhans opened the seventh with a double off reliever Lance Cormier (7-3). Rafael Furcal walked, and both runners scored on Jones' double to center, breaking a 5-5 tie.
Shawn Green hit a two-run shot for Arizona.
Atlanta's John Thomson and Arizona's Russ Ortiz were activated from long stays on the disabled list, and each looked rusty in giving up five runs over six innings.
Mets 5, Dodgers 1
LOS ANGELES Jae Seo pitched eight sharp innings and New York got consecutive home runs from backup catcher Ramon Castro and emergency center fielder Gerald Williams in a victory over Los Angeles.
Williams made his second straight start in place of Carlos Beltran, who was back at the team's hotel two days after his violent, head-to-head collision with right fielder Mike Cameron in San Diego. Cameron was at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., recovering from successful surgery Friday night to repair a broken nose and two fractured cheekbones.
Seo (4-1) allowed five hits and struck out six, lowering his ERA to 1.35 in five starts with New York this season. The right-hander's streak of 20 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings the longest by any Mets pitcher this year ended when Olmedo Saenz hit an RBI double in the seventh.
Pirates 1, Astros 0
HOUSTON Roger Clemens was foiled again by a lack of run support, and Jack Wilson homered off Brad Lidge in the ninth inning to give Pittsburgh a victory over Houston.
Clemens allowed two hits in eight shutout innings, lowering his major league-leading ERA to an incredible 1.32. He struck out nine and walked none, but the Astros couldn't muster any offense against Kip Wells and two relievers.
It was the ninth no-decision for the 43-year-old Clemens, and the sixth time the Astros have failed to score for him. He threw an economical 88 pitches but has not gone longer than eight innings this season.
Salomon Torres (3-4) worked a scoreless eighth, and Jose Mesa struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 30 chances.
Marlins 2, Giants 1
MIAMI Josh Beckett pitched a four-hitter and Carlos Delgado came off the disabled list to hit a go-ahead homer, helping Florida beat San Francisco.
The Giants had five baserunners in the final two innings, but failed to score. After the first two batters reached in the ninth, Beckett retired Pedro Feliz, Edgardo Alfonzo and Todd Linden.
The Marlins preserved the lead when center fielder Juan Pierre threw out Linden trying to score from second on a single in the eighth. The throw and the 230-pound Linden arrived at the plate at the same time, and catcher Matt Treanor held onto the ball despite being rolled by the runner.
Beckett (11-6) struck out seven, walked three and threw 106 pitches. The complete game was his first since April 10 and the 11th this season by the Marlins, most in the major leagues.
Feliz hit his 18th homer leading off the second for the Giants' only run.
Brett Tomko (7-12) lost for the first time in seven career decisions against Florida. He allowed two runs in six innings.
Reds 4, Brewers 1
MILWAUKEE Cincinnati won its 10th consecutive road game, beating Milwaukee behind Ryan Freel's two-run triple with two outs in the seventh inning.
The Reds, winners of five straight overall, have won 10 in a row on the road for the first time since 1998. No major league team had won that many consecutive road games since Seattle won 13 straight in 2003.
Ramon Ortiz (7-8) and three relievers combined on a two-hitter. Geoff Jenkins singled and Bill Hall doubled off Ortiz to start the fifth for Milwaukee's only hits. Jenkins scored on a groundout.
Matt Belisle, Jason Standridge and David Weathers each worked a perfect inning in relief. Weathers earned his ninth save.
Milwaukee, at .500 and in wild-card contention less than a week ago, has lost five straight games.
Nationals 8, Rockies 0
DENVER Tony Armas Jr. allowed nine hits in six innings, and Nick Johnson had three hits and two RBIs to lead Washington past Colorado.
Mike Stanton, Hector Carrasco and Joey Eischen completed the 17th combined shutout, and 30th overall, in 11 seasons of Coors Field. The Nationals, who had 13 hits, won for the fifth time in the last 17 road games since July 9.
Armas (7-5) began the day 1-5 with a 7.49 ERA in six road starts, while going 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA at home. Jose Guillen had two hits and two RBIs for Washington, and Jose Vidro and Preston Wilson also had two hits.
Phillies 5, Padres 2
SAN DIEGO Ryan Howard's go-ahead RBI single was the third straight Philadelphia hit off Trevor Hoffman opening the ninth inning as the Phillies beat San Diego. The Padres dropped to .500 (58-58) but kept their three-game lead over Arizona, which lost 9-5 at Atlanta. The Padres have lost two straight to the Phillies and three of five overall.
The Phillies have won five of seven and are 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the wild-card race.
Vicente Padilla, Ugueth Urbina (3-0), Aaron Fultz and Billy Wagner combined to six-hit the Padres. Wagner got the final two outs for his 27th save in 29 chances.
Hoffman (1-5) allowed four runs on four hits while getting only two outs.
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