Andy Pettitte allowed one run over eight innings to win his sixth straight start, a 4-1 victory over the Florida Marlins at Houston last night that gave the Astros the top spot in the wild-card standings.
Pettitte (16-9) scattered five hits and struck out five. Aside from Miguel Cabrera's 32d homer leading off the seventh, the lefthander allowed five base runners, three of whom were erased by double-play grounders.
Brad Lidge struck out the side in the ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances.
After Brad Ausmus led off the fifth with his third home run, Pettitte followed with a deep fly ball of his own -- that was caught by center fielder Juan Pierre well short of the wall. Craig Biggio then hit his 21st homer into the left-field stands near where Ausmus's ball had landed for a 3-0 lead.
Cardinals 6, Cubs 1 -- Jeff Suppan allowed six hits over eight-plus innings and St. Louis beat Chicago at Wrigley Field to clinch another Central Division title in a game called with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after a 58-minute rain delay.
The victory over the Cubs, coupled with Atlanta's win over Philadelphia, gave St. Louis (94-54) the division title because Houston could at best match the Cardinals at 94 wins, with both teams assured of playoff berths at that figure. St. Louis has the tiebreaker because it clinched the season series against the Astros.
Braves 6, Phillies 4 -- Chipper Jones hit two homers and tied his career high with five RBIs, helping Atlanta avert a four-game sweep in Philadelphia.
Jorge Sosa (12-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Braves and Adam LaRoche had a solo homer. Jones hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a two-run shot in the seventh.
Nationals 6, Mets 5 -- Vinny Castilla drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 10th inning after Braden Looper and New York's sloppy defense wasted a one-run ninth-inning lead, and Washington beat the Mets to complete a three-game sweep at Shea Stadium.
The Nationals swept a road series for the second time in a month.
Dodgers 7, Giants 1 -- Rookie Willy Aybar drove in a career-high three runs, Jose Cruz Jr. hit an RBI triple, and Derek Lowe won his third straight decision in Los Angeles's victory at San Francisco.
Brewers 14, Diamondbacks 2 -- Bill Hall had a career-high five hits and Chad Moeller drove in four runs to lead Milwaukee at Phoenix.