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NL ROUNDUP

Armas and Nationals stop Astros

Tony Armas allowed one hit in seven innings and the slumping Washington Nationals capitalized on Willy Taveras's misplay of Carlos Baerga's bases-loaded fly ball to center in the first inning to beat the Houston Astros, 4-2, last night at RFK Stadium.

Taveras came in on the ball, then retreated as it sailed over his head. The three-run double gave the Nationals all the runs they needed to break a three-game skid and win for just the fifth time in 17 games.

Armas (5-4) allowed just a two-run homer by Lance Berkman in the sixth to help end the Astros' six-game winning streak.

Joey Eischen came on to give up a single to Orlando Palmeiro to start the eighth, but Gary Majewski finished the inning, and Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 34th save, ensuring Washington will spend another day no worse than tied for first with Atlanta in the East Division.

Brandon Backe (8-7) walked Brad Wilkerson to start the first, then gave up Jose Guillen's ground-rule double into the left-field corner. Preston Wilson walked on four pitches with two outs to load the bases and bring up Baerga, who entered the game with just 10 RBIs and was 0 for 4 with the bases loaded.

Mets 7, Dodgers 5 -- Jose Reyes had four hits, including his major league-leading 10th triple, to lead New York to a come-from-behind victory over Los Angeles at Shea Stadium as Pedro Martinez earned his 12th victory of the season.

Reyes scored three runs and stole two bases, and his triple in the seventh inning tied the score before Carlos Beltran singled him home with the go-ahead run.

Martinez gave up eight hits -- four for extra bases -- in seven innings. He struck out four, raising his league-leading total to 147.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 5 -- Derrek Lee hit his major league-leading 32d homer, and Jeromy Burnitz and Aramis Ramirez also connected for visiting Chicago.

With runners at first and second in the ninth, Albert Pujols's liner to shortstop turned into a game-ending double play when Abraham Nunez was caught off second base.

Lee's homer matched his career high, set last season, and helped the Cubs win for only the 10th time in 43 games at Busch Stadium over the last six seasons. Lee is 11 for 31 during a seven-game hitting streak with five homers and nine RBIs. He is batting a major league-best .370.

Phillies 2, Padres 0 -- Chase Utley homered for the second straight game and rookie Robinson Tejeda struck out five in six innings for host Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has taken the first two games of the series while slumping San Diego lost its sixth straight.

Pirates 5, Rockies 3 -- Dave Williams limited Colorado to one hit over six innings and rookies Ryan Doumit and Brad Eldred drove in all but one of host Pittsburgh's runs.

The lefthanded Williams (8-7) lost two of his previous three starts and was only 2-5 with a 6.91 ERA in PNC Park before sending the Rockies to their seventh loss in 10 games.

Brewers 11, Reds 7 -- Lyle Overbay hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in a career-high six runs as visiting Milwaukee pounded Brandon Claussen and beat Cincinnati.

Carlos Lee also homered and drove in three runs to take over the League lead with 82 RBIs, one more than Chicago's Derrek Lee.

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