When things looked bleak for the Los Angeles Dodgers, they found their power stroke. The Dodgers hit 4 consecutive homers in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game, and Nomar Garciaparra's 2 run drive in the 10th lifted Los Angeles to an 11-10 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
On a night when the New York Mets clinched the NL East title, the Dodgers moved back into 1st place in the NL West, a 1/2 game ahead of the Padres.
``That was the greatest game I've ever seen. I've never seen anything like that,'' Dodgers reliever Brett Tomko said.
After Los Angeles tied it in the 9th with 4 straight homers, just the fourth time that's happened in major league history, the Padres went ahead on Brian Giles' double and Josh Bard's 2 out single off Aaron Sele (8-6).
But Rudy Seanez (1-2) walked Kenny Lofton to begin the bottom half, and Garciaparra followed by hitting his 18th homer deep into the left field pavilion.
In other NL games, it was: New York 4, Florida 0; Chicago 11, Philadelphia 6; Milwaukee 4, St. Louis 3; Houston 5, Cincinnati 3; Colorado 20, San Francisco 8; and Atlanta 6, Washington 1.
At Los Angeles, Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew opened the 9th with homers off San Diego's Jon Adkins. Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson then connected on the first 2 pitches thrown by Trevor Hoffman, who entered with 475 career saves, 3 shy of Lee Smith's major league record.
The last time a team hit 4 consecutive homers was on May 2, 1964, when the Minnesota Twins accomplished the feat against Kansas City in the 11th inning.
``It was a great baseball game, two good teams going at it. They got the last big hit,'' Giles said.
Anderson had a career high 5 hits, and Kent had 4 for Los Angeles.
``I can't explain it. It's absolutely the most wonderful night of my career, for sure,'' Anderson said. ``And to be able to do it on this stage, in a pennant race, it was awesome. The guys pulled together and stuck together. That was absolutely the most wonderful game I've ever seen in my life at any level.''
Mets 4, Marlins 0
The Mets ended nearly two decades of disappointment in their division and days of delay, clinching the NL East for the first time since 1988.
Jose Valentin homered twice and Steve Trachsel (15-7) combined with 3 relievers on a 4 hitter.
Fireworks shot off from behind the center field wall at Shea Stadium when Cliff Floyd caught Josh Willingham's fly ball to left for the final out. The Mets rushed to the center of the diamond to celebrate.
Brian Moehler (7-9) got the loss.
Cubs 11, Phillies 6
Aramis Ramirez homered twice and drove in a career best 7 runs for the visiting Cubs.
Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez hit a grand slam in the 4th inning to bring Philadelphia within 2 runs after trailing 8-0, but 5 Cubs relievers held the Phillies scoreless over the last 5 innings.
Ramirez went 4-5 and Juan Pierre and Scott Moore hit solo homers for Chicago.
The Phillies are 1 1/2 games behind the wild card leading Padres.
Michael Wuertz (3-1) tossed 2 perfect innings to get the win.
Ramirez hit 3 run homers in the 1st inning off Jon Lieber (8-10) and in the 4th off Eude Brito.
Brewers 4, Cardinals 3
Tony Graffanino singled in the winning run in the 9th inning for the Brewers.
Albert Pujols hit a 3 run drive for his 46th homer for the visiting Cardinals, whose magic number in the NL Central was lowered to 7 when Cincinnati lost 5-3 to the Houston Astros.
Damian Miller singled off Braden Looper (9-2) to start the 9th for Milwaukee. Drew Anderson pinch ran for him and advanced on Jeff Cirillo's sacrifice. Graffanino singled to left and Anderson beat the throw home.
Francisco Cordero (2-0) pitched 1 perfect inning to get the win.
Astros 5, Reds 3
Roy Oswalt pitched 6 2-3 innings to continue his mastery of Cincinnati.
Oswalt (14-8) allowed 2 runs and 8 hits to improve his career record to 17-1 against Cincinnati. He struck out 8 and didn't walk a batter before departing with muscle spasms in his neck.
Oswalt is 5-0 with a no decision in his last 6 starts. He said after the game that the neck problems were ``no big deal.''
Ray Olmedo and Todd Hollandsworth had pinch hit homers for visiting Cincinnati.
Dan Wheeler pitched the 9th for his 6th save in 8 chances.
Reds starter Kyle Lohse (2-4) gave up 4 runs and 6 hits in 6 innings.
Rockies 20, Giants 8
Jeff Baker hit 2, 3 run homers, Garrett Atkins also drove in 6 runs and Justin Hampson won in his first major league start.
The Rockies, who had a season high 19 hits, tied the club record for runs, reaching 20 for the third time, the last on September 20, 2005, against San Diego.
Hampson (1-0) allowed 6 runs and 10 hits in 5 innings.
The Giants fell 4 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West and 4 games behind San Diego in the wild card race.
Baker's first homer highlighted a 6 run 1st inning against Giants starter Noah Lowry (7-10).
Braves 6, Nationals 1
At Washington, Andruw Jones hit a tiebreaking, 2 run homer in the 6th inning and Kyle Davies won for the first time since April 30.
Atlanta won for the fourth time in five games. Daryle Ward also had a pinch-hit, 3 run homer in the 8th inning in his first appearance against the Nationals since they traded him to the Braves on August 31.
Davies (3-5) allowed 1 run and 4 hits, struck out 5 and walked 2. He was removed after allowing a leadoff single in the 6th inning.
Tony Armas (8-12) fell to 0-4 in his last 6 starts.