CINCINNATI -- Mark McGwire hit one of St. Louis' five homers Tuesday night as the Cardinals overpowered the Cincinnati Reds 11-6 and moved into a second-place tie with Chicago in the NL Central.
McGwire's two-run shot, the 576th homer of his career, put the Cardinals ahead 8-0 in the third inning off Juan Acevedo (3-5) and sent a construction worker sliding down a pole to retrieve the ball.
The Cardinals' win and the Cubs' 3-1 loss to Milwaukee left them trailing first-place Houston by three games.
Reliever Mike Matthews, Jim Edmonds, Craig Paquette and J.D. Drew also homered for the Cardinals. The five homers matched their season high, and the Reds had three of their own, including one by Griffey.
Given the big lead, Dustin Hermanson (12-9) coasted to his second win over the Reds in six days.
Astros 8, Phillies 2
PHILADELPHIA -- Lance Berkman and Brad Ausmus each drove in two runs in a six-run seventh inning that carried Houston to its fifth straight win. The Astros, who matched their season high for consecutive victories, also won five straight from May 13-17.
Philadelphia lost its fifth straight for the first time this season, but stayed just a game behind in the NL East when Atlanta lost to San Diego.
Pedro Astacio (8-14) was the beneficiary of the big inning, improving his record to 2-1 since being acquired by the Astros from Colorado. He allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.
The Astros, limited to three hits through the first six innings against Nelson Figueroa (4-4), broke open the game in the seventh with the help of a two-run double by Berkman and a two-run triple by Ausmus.
Brewers 3, Cubs 1
CHICAGO -- Ruben Quevedo struck out 10 to win his third straight start, and Jeromy Burnitz hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning, leading Milwaukee over Chicago.
Milwaukee has won six of its last seven games against the Cubs, including five of six at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost eight of 11.
Mark Sweeney hit his third homer for the Brewers, who have beaten the Cubs six times in their last seven meetings -- including five of six at Wrigley Field. Chicago stranded eight runners.
Quevedo (3-1), acquired from the Cubs on July 30 for reliever David Weathers, allowed one run, five hits and four walks in seven innings, lowering his ERA from 5.40 to 4.18.
Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 2
PITTSBURGH -- Abraham Nunez's tiebreaking single off Curt Schilling in the eighth inning rallied Pittsburgh over Arizona, ending the Diamondbacks' nine-game winning streak and the Pirates' seven-game losing streak.
Schilling (18-6) failed to become the majors' first 19-game winner, giving up four runs and nine hits in 7 2-3 innings for his first loss in five starts and only his second in his last nine decisions against Pittsburgh.
Schilling took a 2-all tie into the eighth, but rookie Rob Mackowiak singled and was bunted up by Craig Wilson. Nunez then fought off an 0-2 pitch for the go-ahead single, and Aramis Ramirez followed a batter later with another RBI single.
Omar Olivares (6-7) got the final out of the eighth for the victory -- only the second in the Pirates' last 11 games -- and Mike Fetters pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Giants 10, Expos 2
MONTREAL -- Russ Ortiz didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning, and Rich Aurilia and Jeff Kent homered to lead San Francisco over Montreal.
Ortiz (14-6), who allowed two hits and one run in eight innings, held Montreal hitless until Mark Smith singled to right with two outs in the seventh.
The inning was extended one batter before when shortstop Aurilia failed to complete an inning-ending double play by throwing wide to first base.
Barry Bonds went 0-for-2 with three walks, though the Giants.
Padres 3, Braves 1
ATLANTA -- Bubba Trammell hit an RBI double and D'Angelo Jimenez added an RBI single in the 10th off Steve Karsay as San Diego beat Atlanta.
The Braves, 29-31 at home, have lost their last six games at Turner Field, where they are 5-12 since July 13.
John Burkett's bid to win his fourth straight decision ended when Bernard Gilkey pinch hit for him in the seventh. Burkett allowed five hits and one run.
Burkett's ERA dropped five points to 2.52, which ranks second in the NL. The right-hander, who left with the score tied at 1, fell behind 1-0 in the second on Ben Davis' sacrifice fly. Atlanta tied the score in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk.
Jose Nunez (2-2) pitched a perfect ninth for San Diego. Trevor Hoffman earned his 32nd save in 34 opportunities in the 10th.
Dodgers 5, Marlins 4
MIAMI -- Gary Sheffield homered for the fourth straight game as Los Angeles handed Florida its eighth consecutive loss.
With one out in the eighth inning and Mark Grudzielanek on first, Sheffield hit Vladimir Nunez's pitch over the left-field wall to break a 3-3 tie. The former Marlins outfielder was booed loudly as he rounded the bases.
It was Sheffield's 29th homer this season and the 10th of his career against the Marlins.
Giovanni Carrara (4-1) struck out three and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings of relief. Jeff Shaw gave up a leadoff homer in the ninth to Kevin Millar, but earned his 35th save in 41 chances.
Mets 5, Rockies 2
NEW YORK -- Mike Piazza hit his 300th homer as a catcher, and New York spoiled Mike Hampton's return to Shea Stadium with a victory over Colorado.
Hampton, who signed a $121 million, eight-year contract with the Rockies over the winter after one season with the Mets, was heartily booed during pregame introductions, when he took the mound in the first inning and each time he batted.
The Mets scored five runs in the first two innings against Hampton (12-10) to win their third straight.
Al Leiter (8-10) allowed one run, six hits and struck out five in seven innings to stop the Rockies' three-game winning streak.
Armando Benitez pitched the ninth for his 30th save.
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