Cubs hold wild-card lead

Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2004

CHICAGO Derrek Lee hit a three-run, eighth-inning double against his former team, and the Chicago Cubs rallied to beat the Florida Marlins 5-2 Saturday and maintain their NL wild-card lead.

The Cubs began the day one percentage point ahead of San Francisco, which played at Arizona later Saturday. Houston fell one game back and the defending World Series champion Marlins and San Diego dropped 2 1/2 games off the pace.

Ryan Dempster (1-1) won in relief of Carlos Zambrano, and LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his 21st save. Guillermo Mota (9-6) was the loser, and Rudy Seanez allowed Lee's go-ahead hit.

Pirates 5, Astros 2

PITTSBURGH Jason Bay hit a three-run homer in the first off Brandon Backe (3-3) homered and added an RBI double in the fifth to back Ryan Vogelsong (5-12), who limited the Astros to one run in six innings. Houston has lost three of four following a 12-game winning streak.

Craig Biggio homered on Vogelsong's second pitch, extending his NL record to 40 leadoff homers, and drove in both Houston runs. Jose Mesa got two outs for his 39th save.

Rockies 13, Padres 2

DENVER Matt Holliday and Clint Barmes had three RBIs each, Jeff Francis (2-2) was a winner in his Coors Field debut and Colorado Rockies had 18 hits.

Garrett Atkins hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the seventh, Barmes was 3-for-5 and every position player had a hit for Colorado, which has won seven of 10 all against teams still in the playoff race.

Khalil Greene homered twice and has four in three games. Adam Eaton (9-13) gave up seven runs and a career-high 12 hits in five innings for the Padres, who have lost eight of 11.

Phillies 11, Mets 9

NEW YORK David Bell's second home run of the game, a drive off Vic Darensbourg (0-1) that broke a 13th-inning tie, capped a comeback from a 6-2 sixth-inning deficit. The Phillies, 4 1/2 games out in the wild-card race, have won five straight and eight of nine.

Bell and Jason Michaels hit RBI singles in the ninth for a 9-7 lead but the Mets, who have lost 18 of 20, came back with two unearned runs in the bottom half, tying the score on Wilson Delgado's two-out single against Billy Wagner, who then was ejected by plate umpire Dana DeMuth after throwing two high-and-tight pitches to Cliff Floyd.

Roberto Hernandez (3-5) won and Felix Rodriguez got his first save since July 11 last year. The teams combined to use 18 pitchers, tying the major league record.

Braves 8, Expos 1

ATLANTA Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal homered, and pinch-hitter Julio Franco capped a six-run seventh with a two-run double as Atlanta stretched its NL East lead to 8 1/2 games.

Mike Hampton, making his first since Aug. 31, gave up four hits in 4 1-3 scoreless innings before he leaving with a strained left knee.

Juan Cruz (5-2) gave up one run in 1 2-3 innings. Livan Hernandez (10-13) gave up seven runs, 10 hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings, throwing a season-high 143 pitches. He is 0-10 in his last 12 regular-season starts against the Braves, including 0-5 this season.

Reds 9, Brewers 0

CINCINNATI Adam Dunn hit a grand slam in a seven-run third inning.

Dunn and Austin Kearns hit consecutive homers off Victor Santos (10-10), and Felipe Lopez homered in the sixth against Travis Phelps. Kearns and Lopez had three hits each for the Reds, who won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 22 and 24 against Arizona and St. Louis.

Luke Hudson (3-1) gave up three hits in six innings, and Mike Matthews, Phil Norton and Aaron Myette combined to complete the four-hitter. Milwaukee was blanked for the 13th time this season, second-most in the major leagues behind Montreal (16).

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 3

PHOENIX Barry Bonds broke his major league record for walks in a season and rookie Noah Lowry allowed four hits in seven-plus innings in San Francisco's win over Arizona.

Bonds walked three times, once intentionally, to run his season total to 201, surpassing the record of 198 he set two seasons ago.

Lowry (4-0) struck out four and walked three. The 23-year-old left-hander blanked Arizona on two hits until Chad Tracy's pinch-hit home run with one out in the seventh.

Dodgers 6, Cardinals 5

LOS ANGELES Cesar Izturis hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning, Steve Finley homered for the fourth time in three games and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their winning streak to five games.

David Ross led off the eighth with a bunt single against Julian Tavarez. Cal Eldred (3-2) relieved and Jose Hernandez followed with a grounder to second baseman Tony Womack, whose hurried flip to Gold Glove shortstop Edgar Renteria was dropped for an error. Both runners advanced on a passed ball by rookie Yadier Molina, and Izturis drove a 3-1 pitch to center field to put the Dodgers back in front.

Reliever Scott Stewart (1-0) got the win, retiring one batter Jim Edmonds on a groundout to end the eighth. Eric Gagne pitched a scoreless ninth for his 40th save and 103rd in his last 105 chances.

In the second game of a series between division leaders, the Dodgers maintained their six-game lead in the NL West over San Francisco, which beat Arizona 5-3.

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