After two tough losses to the New York Mets, the Florida Marlins are happy to see them leave town. Paul Lo Duca had 3 RBIs, Jose Reyes had 3 hits and Carlos Delgado delivered a game tying, 2 out single in the 9th inning as the Mets beat the Marlins 7-4 on Wednesday night, trimming New York's magic number for winning the NL East to 2.
The Marlins fell to 4th in the NL wild card standings, 3 games back of San Diego, a 10-0 winner at Cincinnati.
â€œWe're not dead. Two tough losses,â€ Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. â€œWe need a good road trip. There's no secret. We need a really good road trip, but we're not dead.â€
It was the second straight night Delgado tied the game late; his 3 run, 8th inning homer helped the Mets rally for a 6-4 win Tuesday night.
â€œWe're two inches away from getting Delgado out,'' Girardi said. â€œThat's baseball. Sometimes two inches is a lot in the game of baseball.â€
While the Marlins fell further back in the wild card chase, the Mets moved closer to clinching the NL East.
The Mets could have clinched the title with a win and Atlanta sweeping a doubleheader from Philadelphia. The Braves didn't come through, so the victory cigar manager Willie Randolph had on his desk is off to Pittsburgh, where the Mets open a series Friday. Pedro Martinez is set to make his first start since August 14 then.
â€œThese guys can feel it, smell it,â€ Randolph said. â€œTonight we took care of our own business. This is a collective group that wants to win badly. Hopefully we'll get it done this weekend. It would be nice to sip some champagne, smoke a cigar.â€
In other NL games, it was: Colorado 9, San Francisco 8; San Diego 10, Cincinnati 0; Philadelphia 6, Atlanta 5, 1st Game; Philadelphia 7, Atlanta 2, 2nd Game; Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 3, 1st Game; Milwaukee 2, Pittsburgh 1, 2nd Game; Houston 5, St. Louis 1; Los Angeles 6, Chicago 0; and Arizona 4, Washington 2.
With their sweep, the Phillies gained 1/2 game on NL wild card leader San Diego and moved into 2nd place in the chase. The Phillies are 1 1/2 games behind the Padres.
Rockies 9, Giants 8
Barry Bonds hit one ball over the fence and another almost through it, yet host San Francisco lost ground in the playoff races.
Bonds hit his 732nd career home run and 24th this season leading off the ninth, pulling the slugger within 23 of tying home run king Hank Aaron's record 755.
However, the Giants couldn't overcome the Rockies' 7 run 5th inning that helped Jason Jennings win for the first time in more than six weeks. Colorado right fielder Brad Hawpe made an over the shoulder catch with 2 runners on to preserve the lead and get Brian Fuentes his 26th save in 31 chances.
Noah Lowry (7-9) took the loss.
Padres 10, Reds 0
Jake Peavy continued his domination of Cincinnati hitters and Mike Piazza hit a 3 run homer to lead visiting San Diego.
The loss dropped the Reds 3 1/2 games behind the Padres in the NL wild card race, and 5 behind St. Louis in the NL Central.
Peavy (9-14) is 4-0 in 6 career starts against Cincinnati.
Reds starter Kyle Lohse (2-3) allowed 7 runs and 8 hits in 2 1-3 innings.
Phillies 6, Braves 5, 1st game; Phillies 7, Braves 2, 2nd game
Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins hit 2 run homers and Jon Lieber (8-9) won his 4th straight decision to help Philadelphia sweep a doubleheader at Atlanta.
In the opener, Braves left fielder Matt Diaz's 8th inning error allowed 2 runs to score as the Phillies rallied from an early 5 run deficit.
The Phillies gained 1/2 game on NL wild card leader San Diego and trails the Padres by 1 1/2 games.
Pirates 6, Brewers 3, 1st Game; Brewers 2, Pirates 1, 2nd Game
Ben Sheets took a perfect game bid into the 7th inning before Chris Duffy led off with a single, and Milwaukee split a doubleheader at Pittsburgh.
In the opener, Freddy Sanchez got 3 hits and Ian Snell (13-10) struck out 10 to help the Pirates win.
Sheets (5-6) gave up 2 hits and struck out 10 in 8 innings. He did not walk a batter. One pitch after Duffy singled, Sheets picked him off first base.
Francisco Cordero pitched the 9th for his 12th save in as many chances since being acquired by the Brewers July 28.
Astros 5, Cardinals 1
Roy Oswalt (13-8) pitched shutout ball into the 9th inning and Lance Berkman hit his 40th home run to lead visiting Houston.
The Astros ended a three-game losing streak and averted a three-game sweep against a team they're chasing in the NL Central. Chris Burke, starting at second base for the second straight game in place of slumping Craig Biggio, had two hits and two RBIs.
Jason Marquis (14-15) pitched on three days' rest for the 8th time in his career and lasted only 10 batters.
Dodgers 6, Cubs 0
Brad Penny (16-8) became the first 16-game winner in the National League and Rafael Furcal homered for visiting Los Angeles.
Nomar Garciaparra added a 2 run double off Angel Guzman (0-6) and Furcal had 3 hits and 3 runs for the Dodgers, who maintained a 1 1/2 games lead over San Diego in the NL West.
The Cubs have lost 20 of their last 26 games.
Diamondbacks 4, Nationals 2
At Phoenix, Livan Hernandez blanked his former Washington teammates for 7 innings and 4 Arizona players hit solo home runs.
Hernandez (12-12) retired 21 of 22 batters from the 1st to the 8th before giving up a pair of runs on Robert Fick's pinch-hit double.
Alfonso Soriano was thrown out at 3rd base for the second game in a row, leaving him still 1 stolen base shy of becoming the 4th 40 homer, 40 steal player in major league history.