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NL ROUNDUP

Braves nip Pirates, win 4th in row

Chipper Jones drove in both Atlanta runs and Horacio Ramirez allowed six hits over eight innings to help the Braves win their fourth straight, 2-1, over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates last night.

Lefthander Macay McBride earned his first career save by getting two outs after coming in with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth.

Atlanta, coming off a three-game sweep of Washington, won its fourth straight one-run game to take a four-game lead in the East Division.

Trailing, 1-0, entering the seventh, the Braves rallied off Pittsburgh starter Dave Williams (8-8) when Rafael Furcal led off with a single and took third on a double by Marcus Giles. Jones followed with a single to left, easily scoring both runners.

Marlins 4, Nationals 3 -- Josh Beckett reached 10 wins in a season for the first time, pitching 6 1/3 innings to help Florida beat slumping Washington at Miami.

Paul Lo Duca doubled home three runs in the first inning against the Nationals, who have lost five straight and 17 of their last 22 games. Washington has lost 10 consecutive one-run decisions, including its past four games.

The Marlins have won three in a row and closed to within 1 1/2 games of the Nationals, who dropped behind Houston for the wild-card lead.

Astros 5, Mets 2 -- Morgan Ensberg, Lance Berkman, and Craig Biggio homered, and rookie Wandy Rodriguez had his third straight solid start, leading Houston past visiting New York to continue its amazing July run.

Houston won for the 12th time in 13 games and 21st time this month, breaking a club record set in 1976.

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 3 -- Aramis Ramirez had a pinch-hit RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Chicago past Arizona.

Reds 8, Padres 3 -- Adam Dunn hit a pair of two-run homers as visiting Cincinnati dropped West Division-leading San Diego one game below .500. The Padres (51-52) have lost 10 of 11 overall and 33 of 51 since June 1, when they were 14 games over .500.

Dodgers 7, Cardinals 5 -- Ricky Ledee hit a three-run homer, Jeff Kent went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and host Los Angeles beat St. Louis in their first meeting at Dodger Stadium since last year's playoffs.

Phillies 5, Rockies 3 -- Brett Myers struck out nine to remain unbeaten at Coors Field and Jimmy Rollins had a two-run single in Philadelphia's four-run second inning.

Giants 7, Brewers 6 -- Pinch hitter Ray Durham doubled in the go-ahead runs in San Francisco's five-run eighth inning at Milwaukee.

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