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NL ROUNDUP

Marlins storm past New York

Florida's winning streak continues

The way the Florida Marlins are playing, only a force of nature could slow them down.

That's exactly what happened.

Carl Pavano and the Marlins beat the New York Mets, 9-6, yesterday for their seventh win in a row before packing up and flying back to South Florida to prepare for Hurricane Frances. The storm has already forced the postponement of tonight's game against the Chicago Cubs -- but the Marlins aren't fazed.

"The good news is, I saved $159 on my car insurance," manager Jack McKeon said, spoofing the ubiquitous commercials. "Hopefully, we'll start up again [tomorrow] and keep going the way we've been going."

Players showered and dressed quickly so they could return to a state bracing for its worst storm in at least a decade. Frances, packing 145-mile-per-hour winds and the potential to push ashore waves up to 15 feet, could be felt in Florida by midmorning today.

Frances is likely to wipe out the entire three-game series. According to the Chicago Tribune, if the series can't be played, the teams could play a doubleheader in Florida Sept. 20. The final game would be played Oct. 4, the day after the end of the regular season, if it's necessary to decide a playoff berth.

Pavano, who tied for the NL lead with his 16th win, allowed four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. Damion Easley and Juan Encarnacion each drove in three runs for the Marlins, who swept the series.

Brewers 7, Pirates 1 -- Ben Sheets threw a four-hitter for his first win since the All-Star break, Bill Hall drove in four runs, and host Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh to salvage a split of the four-game series.

Hall and Keith Ginter homered for the Brewers, who had lost eight consecutive series and 12 of 13.

Sheets (10-10), the first Brewers starter to earn a win since Victor Santos Aug. 17, last won July 10 against Cincinnati. Sheets walked one and struck out nine.

Hall snapped an 0-for-14 skid in the second with a three-run homer off lefty Dave Williams (0-1).

Cardinals 7, Padres 2 -- Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds homered in the first inning and Jeff Suppan won his fifth straight start, leading host St. Louis to a three-game sweep of San Diego.

Pujols and Edmonds each homered three times in the series for the Cardinals, who have won six in a row and 11 of 13 and have the majors' best record at 89-44. Pujols was 4 for 4 with two RBIs last night, 8 for 12 with six RBIs in the series, and has homered in four straight games.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 4 -- Adrian Beltre hit his 43d homer and Milton Bradley doubled twice as Los Angeles won in Phoenix.

Bradley, who'll leave the team briefly today following the death of his grandfather, doubled in the go-ahead run off Shane Nance (1-1) in the eighth inning, bringing Cesar Izturis home from first to put the Dodgers up, 4-3.

Rockies 6, Giants 5 -- Vinny Castilla hit a two-run homer, Matt Holliday drove in two runs, and visiting Colorado beat Jason Schmidt and San Francisco.

Joe Kennedy (7-6) pitched effectively into the eighth inning as the Rockies won their second straight following a season-high eight-game losing streak. They had also lost nine straight on the road.

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