Expos close in on wild-card lead

Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2003

MONTREAL Pinch-hitter Joe Vitiello singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Montreal Expos beat Philadelphia Phillies 9-6 Wednesday night to close within a game of the NL wild-card lead.

Montreal has won four straight overall and eight in a row at home. The Expos led 6-1 in the seventh, but Pat Burrell hit an RBI double and Marlon Byrd tied in the score with his first career grand slam. The homer came against Hector Almonte (1-1), who got his first major league win.

Astros 6, Dodgers 1

HOUSTON Jeff Bagwell became the 13th player in major league history to hit 30 or more homers in eight consecutive seasons, and Houston beat Los Angeles.

Houston won its third straight and increased its NL Central lead to one game. Los Angeles has lost four in a row but remained 2 1/2 games back in the crowded NL wild-card race.

Bagwell hit a three-run homer in a a four-run first inning off Hideo Nomo (15-10). Wade Miller (11-11) won for the fourth time in five decisions, allowing an unearned run and seven hits in seven innings.

Pirates 4, Marlins 0

PITTSBURGH Kip Wells and two relievers shut out slumping Florida, and Jason Bay had two key hits in his debut with the Pirates.

Bay, acquired Tuesday from San Diego, doubled with two outs in the second inning off Brad Penny (11-10) and scored on Jose Hernandez's double. Bay's run-scoring single finished a three-run third that made it 4-0.

Wells (6-7) struck out seven and walked two.

Brewers 6, Reds 2

CINCINNATI Scott Podsednik drove in three runs as Milwaukee won its ninth straight game.

The Brewers' winning streak is their longest since a nine-game string in 1997, when they were still in the American League. Milwaukee has not won 10 in a row since 1988.

The Reds lost their fourth in a row. Milwaukee will try Thursday for its first-ever four-game sweep in Cincinnati.

Braves 4, Mets 1

ATLANTA Greg Maddux earned his 286th win, and Chipper Jones drove in all four runs as Atlanta won its first game without John Smoltz.

Kent Mercker closed in place of Smoltz, who went on the disabled list earlier in the day with tendinitis in his right elbow.

It was the first time a pitcher other than Smoltz earned a save for Atlanta since Jung Keun Bong on May 28.

Giants 6, Rockies 4

DENVER Sidney Ponson took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning, and San Francisco handed Colorado its fifth straight loss.

Jeffrey Hammonds hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who won for the seventh time in eight games. Rich Aurilia also had two RBIs.

Ponson (2-3) allowed one run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings while beating Jose Jimenez (1-7). Tim Worrell struck out Greg Norton with two on in the ninth for his 29th save.

Padres 10, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX Phil Nevin hit a grand slam and Ryan Klesko had a three-run homer to lead San Diego over Curt Schilling.

Sean Burroughs had his first four-hit game for the Padres, who had 16 and won their second straight against Arizona. The Diamondbacks remained 1 1/2 games back in the NL wild-card race.

Schilling (7-8) allowed 12 hits, the highest total off him since Colorado had 14 last Sept. 20. He pitched seven innings and allowed five runs, matching his season high. Brian Lawrence (7-14) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 2

ST. LOUIS Kerry Wood struck out 11 in seven shutout innings for Chicago, but St. Louis rallied to win.

Tino Martinez hit a tying, two-run single and the Cardinals went in front on Kyle Farnsworth's wild pitch in a four-run eighth.

Sammy Sosa drove in both runs for Chicago, 5-24 at Busch Stadium since the start of the 2000 season.

Farnsworth (3-1) walked Scott Rolen to load the bases before Martinez singled on a 1-1 pitch to tie the game. Then Farnsworth made the wild pitch to Edgar Renteria.

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