Kyle Davies looked every bit the slugger as he calmly rounded the bases after hitting his second career home run. He crossed the plate, received a few high-fives from his Atlanta Braves teammates _ and still didn't smile. ``I still had to go out there and pitch,'' the right-hander said with a big grin after an 8-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
Davies pitched eight strong innings and turned the game into a rout with a three-run homer over the center-field wall as the Braves closed within 1 1/2 games of the Mets in the NL East.
Davies, a .096 career hitter, used to bat cleanup, right behind Braves teammate Jeff Francoeur _ but that was when they were on the same youth team.
``Kyle was probably the greatest 13-year-old hitter I've ever seen,'' Francoeur said with a smile. ``But times change.''
Davies (2-2) allowed only six hits, but his biggest splash came in the sixth when he drove a 3-1 fastball from Aaron Sele over the 400-foot sign, clearing the wall with plenty to spare.
``When you're a pitcher, you have to get lucky,'' said Davies, who found the ball waiting at his locker when he got to the clubhouse. ``If he had thrown it anywhere else, I probably would have missed it.''
In other NL games, it was: St. Louis 9, Pittsburgh 4; Florida 5, Philadelphia 3; Washington 8, Cincinnati 4; Colorado 3, Arizona 1; San Francisco 4, Houston 2; San Diego 5, Chicago 1; and Los Angeles 3, Milwaukee 2.
Davies went 1-for-23 in 2006, the lone hit being a homer. His three-run drive off Sele snapped an 0-for-13 start to this season.
``Once in a blue moon, he'll connect for one,'' Francoeur said, making sure to speak loud enough for Davies to hear.
The Braves beat the Mets for the fifth time in seven meetings _ by knocking around one of its former starters. Jorge Sosa (3-1) surrendered six hits, walked three and was charged with five runs in four innings.
Atlanta scored two runs apiece in the second and third, then Scott Thorman homered in the fourth.
Handed the big lead, Davies put together another strong start to solidify his spot in the Braves' thin rotation.
``He seems to make a pitch when he has to,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said. ``We got men in scoring position, and he seemed to make a pitch to get out of it.''
Cardinals 9, Pirates 4
Adam Wainwright (4-3) allowed nine hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings and hit a two-run double, helping St. Louis end a five-game losing streak.
Chris Duncan's three-run homer in the sixth, the team's major league-low fifth this month and their first at home since April 28, put the game away.
The Cardinals knocked out Zach Duke (1-5) in the fifth.
Marlins 5, Phillies 3
At Miami, Miguel Cabrera's triple paced a sixth-inning rally against Cole Hamels, and Florida extended its winning streak to a season-high four games.
Hamels (6-2) had a 3-1 lead before allowing four runs in the sixth and failed to become the NL's first seven-game winner. For the third time in the past week, the Phillies squandered a chance to climb above .500 for the first time.
Scott Olsen (4-3) allowed three runs in six innings for his first win in four starts.
Nationals 8, Reds 4
Felipe Lopez hit a grand slam in the eighth inning against his former team, rallying visiting Washington.
Lopez connected for his third career grand slam off left-hander Jon Coutlangus (2-1), snapping a 4-all tie. He matched his career high with six RBIs, and Washington's eight runs were a season high.
Jesus Colome (4-0) took over in the seventh inning and got the win.
Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 1
Troy Tulowitzki hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the top of the ninth to help visiting Colorado get the win.
Garrett Atkins drew a leadoff walk against Brandon Lyon (3-2) in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Jamey Carroll. Tulowitzki, hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts against Arizona starter Livan Hernandez, followed with a liner just inside the right-field line to drive in Carroll.
Manuel Corpas (1-2) pitched the eighth for the win, allowing one hit and one walk. Brian Fuentes worked the ninth for his 12th save.
Giants 4, Astros 2
At San Francisco, Barry Bonds drew two more intentional walks and stayed stuck at 745 home runs, and Ray Durham drove in runs after both free passes to the Giants slugger.
Rookie Tim Lincecum (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings in his fourth major league start to beat Houston's Roy Oswalt (6-3) in their second meeting in six days. Armando Benitez finished for his ninth save.
Padres 5, Cubs 1
Jake Peavy allowed one run in six solid innings and Mike Cameron hit two of San Diego's four homers.
Peavy (6-1) held the Cubs to four hits and struck out six as he moved into a tie for the NL lead in wins and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.63.
Kevin Kouzmanoff and Adrian Gonzalez also homered for the Padres. All four homers came against Rich Hill (4-4), who has lost four of five decisions since opening the season 3-0.
Trevor Hoffman got two outs for his 12th save, and 494th of his career.
Dodgers 3, Brewers 2
At Los Angeles, Randy Wolf allowed three hits in seven innings, Russell Martin hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fourth, and the Dodgers snapped a season-high four-game losing streak.
Wolf (6-3), making his 200th career start, walked three and struck out four before being relieved by Jonathan Broxton to start the eighth. Takashi Saito pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save, and his 24th in a row dating to last season.
Ben Sheets (4-3) took the loss.