MIAMI Jeff Conine homered for the second straight night, Juan Encarnacion also homered and the Florida Marlins built a six-run lead, then hung on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Wednesday.
Florida, 12-6 against the Phillies this year, took a a three-game lead in the NL wild-card race with four games to go. Philadelphia has lost four straight heading into Thursday's series finale.
Josh Beckett (9-8) took a two-hit shutout into the eighth, when Florida pulled within a run. Beckett allowed four runs and six hits.
Chad Fox struck out Chase Utley with two on to end the eighth, and Ugueth Urbina's perfect ninth gave Florida its largest wild-card lead this season.
Brett Myers (14-9) lost to Florida for the fourth time this year, giving up five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.
Astros 2, Giants 1
HOUSTON Pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino had a two-run single off Sidney Ponson (3-6) with two outs in the seventh.
Houston, which remained one game behind NL Central-leading Chicago, stopped a four-game losing streak, which had tied a season high. A defeat would have dropped the Astros two games back with four to play.
Roy Oswalt (10-5) won his fourth straight start since coming off the disabled list, allowing three hits in eight innings, including Pedro Feliz's second-inning homer.
Billy Wagner got three straight outs for his 44th save, striking out pinch-hitter Barry Bonds to start the ninth. The NL West champion Giants rested many of their regulars.
Cubs 8, Reds 0
CINCINNATI Sammy Sosa tied Mickey Mantle for 10th place with his 536th homer, and Shawn Estes (8-11) pitched a four-hitter for his eighth career shutout.
Paul Bako hit a three-run double for the Cubs, who hadn't been alone in first place this late in the season since 1989, the last time they won a division title.
Josh Hall (0-2) allowed all seven runs three earned and six hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Cardinals 8, Brewers 4
MILWAUKEE J.D. Drew homered and Matt Morris (11-8) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings for St. Louis, which would have been eliminated from postseason contention with a loss.
The Cardinals, who won for the seventh time in eight games, trail NL Central-leading Chicago by 3 1/2 games.
Jason Isringhausen got five outs for his 20th save. Matt Kinney (10-13) allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings.
Braves 9, Expos 1
ATLANTA Russ Ortiz (21-7), Atlanta's opening starter in the playoffs, allowed three hits in five innings, extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings.
Rafael Furcal went 3-for-4, and Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones and Robert Fick each drove in two runs.
Zach Day (9-8) gave up six runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Mets 5, Pirates 3
NEW YORK Steve Trachsel (16-10) set a career high for wins, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings as New York won consecutive games for the first time since completing a three-game sweep of Atlanta on Sept. 3.
Timo Perez had three hits and two RBIs, and Mike Stanton pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Jeff D'Amico (9-16) lost for the fourth time in five decisions, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Dodgers 2, Padres 1
SAN DIEGO Pinch-hitter Jolbert Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 11th.
The win allowed the Dodgers to stay 3 1/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race. The Marlins have four games remaining while Los Angeles has five.
Cabrera looped a ball into shallow right field off Mike Matthews that eluded the diving Gary Matthews Jr., allowing Dave Roberts to score.
Roberts drew a leadoff walk against Jay Witasick (3-6) and took third on Shawn Green's infield hit, when two fielders went for the ball, leaving the bag uncovered. Paul Shuey (6-4) threw a perfect 10th and Eric Gagne got his 55th save, tying him with John Smoltz for second place on the single-season saves list.
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3
DENVER Randy Johnson beat Colorado for the eighth straight time and Danny Bautista homered twice to back him.
Johnson (6-8) allowed two runs on seven hits and improved to 8-0 in his past nine starts against Colorado. Johnson is 13-4 in 18 starts against the Rockies and hasn't lost to them since June 24, 2001.
Matt Mantei pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 30 chances.
Bautista drove in three runs and was 3-for-4. It was his third career multihomer game.
Jose Jimenez (2-10) gave up four runs and seven hits. Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer and Todd Helton added a solo shot for the Rockies.
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