Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus, and Lance Berkman drove in two runs each and the Houston Astros shook off Pirates starter Oliver Perez's dominance in the opener, beating the Pirates, 9-2, for their 13th victory in 14 games and a doubleheader split last night in Pittsburgh.
In the first game, Perez ended the Astros' 12-game winning streak with the most dominating start of his short career, striking out 14 in a 3-1 victory -- the Astros' only loss since Aug. 26.
Pirates second game starter, Josh Fogg (9-10), didn't offer nearly the challenge Perez did, giving Houston a gift run with a balk while allowing eight runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Mets 4, Marlins 0 -- At Miami, Kris Benson took a shutout into the seventh, Eric Valent homered, and New York snapped an 11-game losing streak while stopping Florida's franchise record-tying nine-game winning streak. Benson (11-11), who skipped his last turn with a sore shoulder, limited Florida to five hits and a walk in six-plus innings. He improved to 3-3 since joining New York.
Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3 -- Steve Finley homered twice and Jose Lima earned his first win in a month as host Los Angeles defeated Arizona. Finley snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth with a solo homer, then hit a two-run shot in the sixth to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. They held on to extend their NL West lead to five games over idle San Francisco.
Phillies 9, Braves 4 -- Philadelphia overcame a blown lead and a strange homer to win in Atlanta with Jim Thome's two-run double and another stellar performance by the bullpen. Atlanta overcame a 4-0 deficit, tying it up in the fourth when Phillies center fielder Jason Michaels accidentally swatted the ball over the fence to give Charles Thomas a home run.
Rockies 9, Padres 7 -- Todd Helton had three RBIs and Aaron Miles hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh for host Colorado. Jorge Piedra had three hits and scored four runs as a last-minute replacement for Jeromy Burnitz (groin injury). Royce Clayton had three hits for Colorado.
Brewers 7, Reds 2 -- Wes Helms hit a grand slam and Brady Clark had four hits against his former team, leading visiting Milwaukee. Doug Davis (11-10) tied his career high for wins with his first victory in seven starts since July 30. He allowed six hits and two runs with no walks in six innings.
Blue Jays 5, Angels 4 -- Carlos Delgado capped a five-run third with a two-run homer and Ted Lilly pitched visiting Toronto to the win. Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Kennedy homered for the Angels, who dropped two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West.
Royals, 26-5; Tigers 8-0 -- Visiting Kansas City set a team record for runs in a doubleheader. Unfortunately for the Royals, they did it all in the first game. Joe Randa led the Royals in the opener, going 6 for 7 and matching a major league record by scoring six times.
White Sox 7, Rangers 3 -- Mark Buehrle pitched a three-hitter for his second complete game of the season, leading visiting Chicago over slumping Texas. Paul Konerko and Joe Crede homered for the White Sox, who have won six of seven.