Cardinals keep crushing NL foes

Posted: Monday, August 23, 2004

ST. LOUIS Edgar Renteria capped a 13-pitch at-bat in the first inning with a three-run homer and matched his career high with five RBIs, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to an 11-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Larry Walker hit a grand slam, the seventh of his career and second in five days, in the eighth inning for the Cardinals, who have the majors' best record at 82-42 after winning 15 of 19.

After a 6-2 homestand, the Cardinals are 40 games above .500 for the first time since the last game of 1985. St. Louis has won eight straight series and 14 of 15.

Matt Morris (13-8) allowed two runs and 10 hits for the win after a rough start. Steve Kline got the final five outs for his third save.

Jason Bay homered and went 4-for-4 with two RBIs for the Pirates.

Morris added a sacrifice fly in the fourth off Ryan Vogelsong (4-10).

Cubs 11, Astros 6

HOUSTON Aramis Ramirez hit a three-run homer, Moises Alou also homered and Chicago beat Houston.

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, manager Dusty Baker and Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt were ejected after the right-handers plunked four players.

Wood, returning from a five-game suspension for arguing with an umpire, was ejected for hitting Jeff Kent with a pitch on the left arm. The right-hander had already hit Mike Lamb and Carlos Beltran.

The Cubs were leading 10-2 at the time, and Wood finished two outs short of earning his eighth win.

John Leicester (4-0) got the win, allowing three runs on four hits in 3 2-3 innings.

Oswalt (13-9) was also tossed from the game in the third for hitting Michael Barrett in the back after allowing the homer to Ramirez. Both benches emptied as Barrett approached the mound, but no punches were thrown.

Phillies 9, Brewers 6, 10 inn.

MILWAUKEE Jason Michaels' RBI single snapped a tie, and Philadelphia scored five times in the 10th inning before holding off Milwaukee to earn a three-game sweep.

Philadelphia entered the series following a seven-game losing streak, all at home, but the Phillies ended up sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee for the first time.

Felix Rodriquez (5-6), the fourth Phillies pitcher, pitched one inning for the victory. Tim Worrell relieved Roberto Hernandez in the bottom half of the 10th and got the final out for his 16th save in 22 chances.

Dan Kolb (0-3) took the loss for the Brewers. Gary Bennett hit a home run and drove in three runs for Milwaukee, which lost its season-high fifth straight. The Brewers have dropped 17 of 22.

Giants 3, Mets 1

SAN FRANCISCO Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer in the first inning to support a strong effort by Kirk Rueter and help San Francisco beat New York.

Bonds' 693rd career homer and 35th of the season highlighted a three-run first inning. The slugging outfielder, who reached base seven straight times during the series, is 21 homers shy of tying Babe Ruth for second on baseball's career list.

Rueter (7-9) allowed five hits in seven innings, his longest outing since pitching eight on May 7. Dustin Hermanson recorded the final four outs for his fifth save. Ray Durham led off the first with a homer as the Giants remained on top of the NL wild card chase by winning for the ninth time in 11 games.

Richard Hidalgo led off the fourth inning with a homer for the Mets, who lost their fourth in seven games. Matt Ginter (1-3) pitched effectively after the rough first inning.

Expos 8, Rockies 2

DENVER Juan Rivera homered and drove in two runs, and Ryan Church had three hits and two RBIs in his major league debut as Montreal defeated Colorado.

Rivera was 4-for-5 with three runs scored for the Expos, whose first five runs came with two outs.

John Patterson (3-2) worked six strong innings, allowing a run and four hits for his second win in eight starts. He has six no-decisions during that span.

The Expos scored two runs off Jason Jennings (11-11) in the first inning on two-out RBI singles by Church and Alex Gonzalez.

Marlins 8, Padres 3

SAN DIEGO Carl Pavano pitched six solid innings, hit a home run and drove in two runs to lead Florida over San Diego.

Luis Castillo also drove in two runs for the Marlins, who won six of nine games on their road trip.

Pavano (14-5) allowed two runs one earned and five hits, struck out three and walked three.

He also hit his second homer of the season leading off the second inning, sending a 413-foot shot off Sterling Hitchcock into the upper deck in left field. Pavano also had an RBI double as part of the Marlins' four-run sixth inning.

Guillermo Mota worked 2 2-3 hitless innings for his third save.

Hitchcock (0-3) left the game after four innings with a strained left elbow. Ramon Hernandez homered and drove in two runs for San Diego, which has lost 11 of 15 at home and has lost its last five home series.

Braves 10, Dodgers 1

LOS ANGELES Chipper Jones' three-run homer capped an eight-run second inning, J.D. Drew hit a two-run double and Atlanta beat Los Angeles to split a four-game series.

Jaret Wright (12-6) won for the 10th time in 11 decisions, allowing a run and three hits in seven innings. He walked none and struck out seven, including Milton Bradley three times. Wright retired his first 12 batters and his last nine.

Wilson Alvarez (7-4) lasted just 1 1-3 innings and was charged with eight runs and nine hits in the shortest of his 13 starts this season. Seven of the eight batters Alvarez faced in the second inning got hits.

Reds 11, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX D'Angelo Jimenez hit a three-run homer, and Sean Casey added a solo shot and an RBI double to lead Cincinnati's rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Adam Dunn also hit a run-scoring double, and Darren Bragg and Ryan Freel had RBI singles for the Reds, who won their second road series since the All-Star break. Cincinnati has won three of four games overall.

Brandon Claussen (2-3) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, snapping his three-game losing streak.

Stephen Randolph (2-4) lasted only three innings in his second start for Arizona, which has lost 13 of 16.

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