WASHINGTON Josh Beckett hit his first career home run, and Miguel Cabrera and Juan Pierre drove in three runs each to lead the Florida Marlins over the Washington Nationals 8-4 Thursday night.
Beckett (13-8) struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits. Florida won three straight, outscoring Washington 24-7, after losing the series opener, and moved within a half-game of Houston, the NL wild-card leader. Washington dropped four games behind the Astros.
John Patterson (8-5) gave up seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Cardinals 5, Mets 0
ST. LOUIS Chris Carpenter became the first 21-game winner in the major leagues, and Albert Pujols homered twice.
St. Louis cut the magic number for clinching its second straight NL Central title to 10.
New York has lost 10 of 12 following a 9-2 stretch, falling to 70-70. The Mets, on the verge of taking the wild-card lead on Aug. 31 before Pedro Martinez faltered against Philadelphia, have lost eight of nine since then and dropped 5 1/2 games back of Houston, which leads in the wild-card chase.
Carpenter (21-4) allowed three hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one, lowering his ERA to 2.21, second in the major leagues to Roger Clemens’ 1.57.
Kris Benson (9-7) dropped to 0-3 in four starts since beating Pittsburgh on Aug. 16. He allowed four runs three earned and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Pirates 8, Diamondbacks 7
PITTSBURGH Jason Bay hit a tying, two-run homer off Tim Worrell in the ninth, and Humberto Cota singled home the winning run off Buddy Groom (0-1) in the 12th.
Pittsburgh had lost 10 in a row at home for only the second time in its 119-season history and the first time since 1968. The victory was the first in Pete Mackanin’s three games as interim manager and stopped a six-game losing streak overall.
Rick White (4-6) pitched a scoreless 12th for the Pirates, who came back from deficits of 2-0, 4-3 and 7-5.
Tony Clark had two homers and five RBIs for Arizona, the 17th multihomer game of his career.
Padres 3, Rockies 2
SAN DIEGO Robert Fick singled in the winning run off Jose Acevedo (2-4) with two outs in the 10th as San Diego (70-69) took two of three from last-place Colorado.
Brian Lawrence, Akinori Otsuka, Trevor Hoffman and Scott Linebrink combined to five-hit the Rockies. Linebrink (6-1) pitched a perfect 10th.
San Diego is seven games ahead of Los Angeles and San Francisco, tied for second at 63-76.
Cubs 5, Giants 3
SAN FRANCISCO Nomar Garciaparra hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning, and Carlos Zambrano (13-5) struck out his last five batters as the Cubs won for the sixth time in seven road games.
Michael Barrett hit a first-inning homer and Garciaparra drove in three runs for the Cubs, who blew an early three-run lead before rallying against Noah Lowry (12-12), who had won six straight starts.
Zambrano allowed three runs and six hits in seven inning, and also got two hits and scored the go-ahead run. Ryan Dempster got his fourth save in five days and 25th overall.
San Francisco has lost three straight following a six-game winning streak.
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