Braves wear NL East crown after Philly loss

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2002

PHILADELPHIA -- The Atlanta Braves clinched their 11th straight division title when the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 Monday night behind Mike Piazza's grand slam.

Philadelphia's loss wrapped up the NL East for the Braves. The second-place Phillies are a staggering 21 games behind Atlanta.

The Braves became the first team to secure a postseason berth this season, and did it earlier than any team in Atlanta history. The 1975 Cincinnati Reds have the earliest clinching since divisional play began in '69, wrapping up the NL West on Sept. 7.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 0

MILWAUKEE -- Woody Williams and four relievers combined on a five-hitter as St. Louis won its sixth straight.

Albert Pujols doubled home a run for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and Williams (8-4) gave up three hits in five innings against a makeshift Brewers lineup to lower his ERA to 2.55.

Astros 6, Rockies 5

HOUSTON -- Mark Loretta's 10th-inning single drove in Craig Biggio with the winning run as Houston beat Colorado.

The Astros have won five of their last seven and remain 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.

Cubs 3, Expos 2

CHICAGO -- Alex Gonzalez homered in the bottom of the ninth inning -- his third game-winning shot at Wrigley Field this season -- to lift Chicago over Montreal.

Gonzalez hit a 2-2 pitch from Jim Brower (3-2) far over the fence in left-center for his 17th homer of the season and 100th of his career. Earlier this season, Gonzalez hit game-winning homers against St. Louis and Texas.

Reds 9, Pirates 8

CINCINNATI -- Jose Guillen hit a grand slam against his former team and tied a career high with five RBIs, leading Cincinnati past Pittsburgh.

The announced attendance of 13,434 was Cincinnati's smallest home crowd of the season.

Diamondbacks 5, Padres 2

PHOENIX -- On the eve of his 39th birthday, Randy Johnson reached 300 strikeouts for the fifth consecutive season and earned his 21st victory as Arizona beat San Diego.

Johnson already held the major league record of four consecutive 300-strikeout seasons. His fourth 300-strikeout season in a row with Arizona set a record for NL pitchers.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds hit the longest home run ever at Pacific Bell Park and San Francisco pulled even with Los Angeles in the NL wild-card race.

Bonds launched a 491-foot drive off Odalis Perez (13-9) for his 610th career homer. David Bell hit a two-run, tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning.

Bell finished 3-for-3, driving in three runs and scoring twice as the Giants won their fourth in a row and 12th in 15 games.

The NL West rivals play again Tuesday and Wednesday. They each have 19 games remaining.

Jeff Kent reached 1,000 career RBIs, and Livan Hernandez (10-15) gave up three runs in seven innings for the Giants.

Robb Nen earned his 37th save in 45 opportunities, breaking Rod Beck's franchise record for saves with 200.

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