Braves wrap up NL East

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2005


  A scoreboard worker puts the Red Sox back to the top of the American League East sign, tied with the New York Yankees after the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday afternoon Sept. 27, 2005. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

A scoreboard worker puts the Red Sox back to the top of the American League East sign, tied with the New York Yankees after the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday afternoon Sept. 27, 2005.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

ATLANTA — Marcus Giles hit two homers and the Atlanta Braves wrapped up their 14th straight division championship Tuesday night, beating Colorado 12-3. The Braves officially clinched the NL East midway through their game when second-place Philadelphia lost to New York.

Atlanta became the second team to clinch a title, following the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Tim Hudson (14-9) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings.

The Braves took control with a four-run fifth. Jeff Francoeur beat out a bases-loaded dribbler to third, driving in one run and fellow rookies Ryan Langerhans and Brian McCann followed with bases-loaded walks to make it 7-1.

Astros 3, Cardinals 1

ST. LOUIS — Roy Oswalt won for the fourth time this month, helping Houston extend its wild-card lead to 2 1/2 games over Philadelphia.

Jason Lane hit a two-run homer and Craig Biggio hit his career-high 25th. Biggio returned to the team after spending Monday in Houston for his mother's open heart surgery.

Oswalt (19-12) allowed one run and eight hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. He is 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA in September. Brad Lidge worked two scoreless innings for his 39th save.

The Astros (86-71) matched a season high at 15 games above .500 and snapped a six-game skid in St. Louis, winning for the fourth time in 15 tries overall against the Cardinals. Houston has five games remaining, four at home against the Cubs.

Mets 3, Phillies 2

PHILADELPHIA — Jose Reyes was 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits to lead New York, which was eliminated from playoff contention with Houston's victory over St. Louis.

Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to a team-record 32 games with a single in the seventh for Philadelphia, which fell 2 1/2 games behind Houston in the wild-card race.

Juan Padilla (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief to get the win. Aaron Heilman finished with two scoreless innings for his fourth save.

Nationals 11, Marlins 1

MIAMI — Dontrelle Willis gave up a career-high nine runs — four unearned — and Miami was mathematically eliminated from the wild-card race and fell into a tie with Washington for last place in the NL East.

Marlon Byrd homered, scored four times and tied a career high with four hits, including three off Willis (22-10). The Marlins, who committed three errors, have lost a season-high five straight and 11 of 13.

Brewers 6, Reds 2

MILWAUKEE — Rick Helling allowed three hits over six innings and Milwaukee climbed above .500 for the first time in four months.

Helling (3-1) struck out a season-high eight and didn't walk a batter. J.J. Hardy homered for Milwaukee (79-78) which had not been over the break-even mark since being 24-23 on May 27. It is the most victories for the Brewers since 1996 when they went 80-82. The Brewers have not had a winning season since 1992, when they were 92-70 and still in the American League.

Derrick Turnbow relieved with two on and two outs in the ninth. He got Ryan Freel on a liner to center with the bases loaded for his 37th save in 41 chances.

Pirates 5, Cubs 3

CHICAGO — Jason Bay's three-run homer lifted Pittsburgh to the victory and put Chicago's Greg Maddux in jeopardy of finishing with a losing record for the first time in 18 years.

Maddux, scheduled to start the season finale Oct. 2 at Houston, has not finished below .500 since 1987, when he was 6-14 for the Cubs. Maddux (13-14) pitched a complete game, allowing five runs and eight hits, but lost for the third time in four starts.

Bay, whose homer in the fifth gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead, had two hits. Freddy Sanchez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double and a single.

Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 0

LOS ANGELES — Brandon Webb allowed two hits over seven innings and Chad Tracy hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Arizona.

Tracy's career-high 25th homer, which followed a two-out double by Luis Gonzalez, helped the Diamondbacks to their sixth straight victory over Los Angeles.

Webb (14-11), who allowed three baserunners, is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his last four starts.

Tim Worrell pitched the eighth and Jose Valverde got three outs for his 12th save to complete the two-hitter.

Jeff Weaver (14-11) allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings.

Padres 9, Giants 6

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres have finally staggered to the cusp of the NL West title.

Ramon Hernandez hit a go-ahead grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs to lead the Padres to a win over the San Francisco Giants, reducing their magic number to two for clinching the division crown.

The Padres, who overcame Barry Bonds' 708th homer — a three-run shot — can wrap up the fourth division championship in their 37-year history by winning one of the two remaining games in this four-game series with the second-place Giants. San Diego has a four-game lead with five to play.

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