Marlins take over NL wild-card lead by topping Atlanta

Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2003

ATLANTA Miguel Cabrera homered in the 11th inning and the Florida Marlins took the NL wild-card lead with a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.

The Marlins pulled a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost to Cincinnati.

Cabrera lined a pitch from Will Cunnane (2-2) into the seats in left leading off the 11th. Starting pitcher Brad Penny hit a three-run double earlier.

The Braves tied it with two runs in the ninth off closer Braden Looper. Javy Lopez cut it to 5-4 with his 42nd homer of the season and 41st as a catcher. That matched the major league record for backstops set by Todd Hundley of the New York Mets in 1996.

Mark DeRosa's RBI single made it 5-5.

Atlanta closer John Smoltz came off the disabled list and pitched for the first time since Aug. 23. He retired his only batter in the ninth inning.

Reds 2, Phillies 0

PHILADELPHIA Todd Van Poppel and two relievers combined on a four-hitter for Cincinnati, costing Philadelphia its wild-card lead.

Van Poppel (1-1) allowed four hits in 6 1-3 innings, his longest outing in five years. He struck out five and walked two.

Wily Mo Pena had an RBI single and Ryan Freel drove in a run on a fielder's choice grounder for the injury-depleted Reds.

Pirates 8, Cubs 2

PITTSBURGH Rookie Ryan Vogelsong allowed only an unearned run over seven dominant innings, and Pittsburgh stalled Chicago's run at the playoffs.

The Cubs' second loss in a row to the non-contending Pirates kept them from closing within a half-game of the NL Central lead. The Astros stayed 1 1/2 games up despite losing to St. Louis. Houston has eight games to play, and the Cubs seven.

Matt Clement (13-12), trying for a career-high 14th victory, was in command early until suddenly losing his control in the Pirates' five-run fourth.

Cardinals 3, Astros 2

ST. LOUIS Albert Pujols homered in the 13th inning and St. Louis beat Houston, keeping its faint playoff hopes alive.

The Astros lead the NL Central by 1 1/2 games over Chicago and five over the Cardinals. St. Louis has six games to go, including the series finale against Houston on Sunday.

Fernando Vina had three hits and a walk for the Cardinals, who snapped a five-game losing streak against the Astros.

Jason Simontacchi (9-5) pitched two hitless innings for the win.

Pujols ended it with his 43rd homer, connecting against Dan Miceli (1-3) with one out in the 13th. It was the second game-winning shot of Pujols' career the other came July 12 against the Padres.

Expos 4, Mets 3

NEW YORK Todd Zeile's home run in the 10th inning lifted Montreal to a victory over the Mets, New York's seventh straight loss.

Zeile homered off Mike Stanton (2-7), keeping Montreal mathematically alive in the NL wild-card race. The stumbling Mets have lost 15 of 16. They also dropped seven straight earlier this month.

Chad Cordero (1-0), drafted in the first round out of Cal-State Fullerton in June, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first major league win. Rocky Biddle worked a hitless 10th for his 32nd save.

Padres 11, Rockies 3

DENVER Gary Bennett drove in a career-high five runs, and Phil Nevin homered and had three RBIs to lead San Diego over Colorado.

The Padres won for the second time in nine games.

Brian Lawrence (9-15) pitched 7 1-3 innings and had two hits in San Diego's six-run seventh inning. He earned his fourth win in his last six starts.

Diamondbacks 10, Brewers 4

MILWAUKEE Luis Gonzalez drove in three runs and Elmer Dessens won for the first time in almost a month as Arizona beat Milwaukee.

Dessens (8-8), who lost and had four no-decisions since his last victory Aug. 21, gave up two runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked two as the Diamondbacks won for the sixth time in seven games.

Jose Valverde got four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Giants 6, Dodgers 0

LOS ANGELES Kirk Rueter combined with two relievers on a seven-hitter, and Marquis Grissom went 4-for-5 with an RBI as the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0 on Saturday night.

The Giants, winners of six of their last seven, already have clinched the NL West title. The Dodgers' loss dropped them 3 1/2 games behind Florida in the wild-card race.

Barry Bonds went hitless in two official at-bats, leaving him three homers behind Willie Mays' 660 for third on the career list. Bonds walked twice and drove in the Giants' first run with a towering sacrifice fly during a four-run sixth inning.

When he hit the ball, there was a collective gasp from the Dodger Stadium crowd, but right fielder Shawn Green caught the fly ball on the edge of the warning track.

Rueter (9-5) shut out the Dodgers on five hits in six innings, and had an RBI single. He struck out one and walked three.

Matt Herges pitched two scoreless innings, and Felix Rodriguez pitched the ninth.

The Dodgers have been shut out 13 times, second-most in the majors behind Detroit's 17.

Hideo Nomo (16-12) gave up four runs on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, including RBI doubles by Benito Santiago and Edgardo Alfonzo.

The Dodgers wasted several early scoring chances, stranding a runner at third in the first and third innings.

Rueter got out of the first jam on Fred McGriff's double-play grounder. The Giants left-hander got off the hook again in the third by striking out Cesar Izturis and retiring Green on a grounder to first.

Green came up again with two outs and two on in the fifth and again grounded out to first.

Notes: Dodgers LHP Tom Martin made his 76th appearance, walking the first two he faced in the sixth before getting Bonds on a popup to first. The 76 appearances are a club record for a left-hander, one more than Scott Radinsky in 1997. ... Los Angeles C Paul Lo Duca, already scheduled to get the night off, has a slightly strained chest muscle but isn't expected to miss any playing time. ... The Giants have 95 victories, but winning 100 games isn't much of a priority for manager Felipe Alou. He plans to rest most of his regulars Sunday and give all the starters some time off next week so they'll be ready for the playoffs. ... Roy Gleason, a member of the Dodgers' 1963 World Series champions whose baseball career was cut short by military service in Vietnam, threw out the first pitch.

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