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Giants Close to Playoff Contention

A 4 game sweep has the San Francisco Giants thinking about the playoffs again.

Rookie Kevin Frandsen hit his first major league homer, and Pedro Feliz also connected Thursday to lead surging Giants over the San Diego Padres 8-4.

Losers of 16 of 19 coming into the series, the last place Giants are 6 games back of NL West leading Los Angeles. San Francisco (58-63) is 9-1 against the Padres since July 1.

The Giants return home for a 10 game stretch that includes 3 against the Dodgers, 3 against 2nd place Arizona and 4 against wild-card leading Cincinnati.

"We're playing all the right teams coming up to get back in it,'' reliever Kevin Correia said. "So, it's basically in our hands. If we can win some games, we can get right back in it.''

San Diego (60-61) has lost 8 of 10l, dropping from the NL West lead to 3rd and falling below .500 for the first time since May 6. The Padres trail Los Angeles by 4 games.

"There's no getting around it, we were awful this series,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "I was, the club, all of us. We just had a horrible series. We have to wash this off, regroup and get things going.''

In other games, it was: St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 1; New York 7, Philadelphia 2; Houston 7, Milwaukee 3; Atlanta 5, Washington 0; and Colorado 8, Arizona 4.

At San Diego, Giants rookie Matt Cain (9-9) allowed 1 hit, struck out 8 and walked 6 in 5 1-3 innings. Josh Barfield hit a pinch grand slam off Jack Taschner in the 9th to end the shutout.

Jake Peavy (6-12) set a career high for losses, giving up 3 runs and 3 hits in 7 innings with 8 strikeouts.

"It's up to us to have short memories and forget this series,'' Peavy said.

Cardinals 2, Reds 1

Scott Rolen hit a tying home run in the 7th off Kyle Lohse and a winning single in the 9th against Ryan Franklin (2-6), boosting the Cardinals' NL Central lead back to 2 1/2 games over the 2nd place Reds.

Ken Griffey Jr. put visiting Cincinnati ahead in the 7th against Jeff Weaver with his 25th homer, the 561st of his career. The drive, which came after Griffey fouled off 6 straight pitches, was his 1,042nd extra base hit, breaking a tie with Pete Rose for 20th place.

Jason Isringhausen (4-5) retired the Reds' 2-3-4 hitters in order in the 9th as St. Louis took 2 of 3 from Cincinnati.

Mets 7, Phillies 2

Carlos Delgado ended a 2 1/2 week homer drought by connecting twice and driving in 4 runs as visiting New York avoided a 4 game sweep. Carlos Beltran also hit a solo shot for the Mets, who have a 13 game lead over 2nd place Philadelphia in the NL East.

John Maine (3-3) allowed 2 runs and 8 hits in 6 innings, and New York reopened a 13 game NL East lead over the 2nd place Phillies.

Ryan Howard tied David Ortiz for the major league lead with his 42nd homer as the Phillies remained 2 1/2 games behind NL wild card leading Cincinnati. Rookie Scott Mathieson (1-4) gave up 6 runs and 8 hits in 4 innings.

Astros 7, Brewers 3

Lance Berkman and Aubrey Huff homered off Ben Sheets (3-5) and Willy Taveras extended his hitting streak to 20 games as visiting Houston stopped a 5 game losing streak.

Jason Hirsh (1-1) allowed 3 runs and 3 hits in 5 1-3 innings for his first major league win, walking 4 and striking out 5 in his second big league start.

Making his fifth start since missing nearly 3 months with tendinitis in his right shoulder, Sheets gave up 7 runs, 10 hits and 4 walks in 7 innings.

Braves 5, Nationals 0

Oscar Villarreal (9-1) pitched 5 innings of 1 hit ball in his first start since April 8, 2003. He became the 12th starter used by the Braves this season.

Edgar Renteria stopped an 0 for 24 skid with 3 singles and 2 RBIs at Washington, and Brian McCann homered.

Jason Bergmann (0-1) made his second start in a row since being converted from relieving in the minors. He lasted 6 innings, allowing 4 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks and a wild pitch.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 4

Colorado took a 6-0 lead in the 2nd at Coors Field against Brandon Webb (13-5), who walked a season high 5 in 6 innings and gave up 5 runs and 8 hits.

Josh Fogg (9-7) improved to 5-0 in his career against Arizona, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits in 5 plus innings. Ryan Spilborghs homered and threw out a runner out at the plate from left field.
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