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Zambrano nearly no-hits Astros

Carlos Zambrano took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Preston Wilson grounded an opposite-field single with one out, and the righthander also drove in four runs in leading the Chicago Cubs over the Astros, 8-0, last night in Houston.

Zambrano was trying to become the first Cub to throw a no-hitter since Milt Pappas on Sept. 2, 1972, against San Diego. Instead, the excitable righthander beat the Astros with his arm and bat, slugging a three-run homer in the second inning and adding a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

After Wilson singled, Zambrano (4-3) struck out Brad Ausmus and Eric Bruntlett to end the eighth. Will Ohman worked a perfect ninth inning.

Zambrano threw 72 of his 126 pitches for strikes and struck out eight.

With two outs in the seventh, Lance Berkman took Zambrano to a full count before he struck out swinging. Juan Pierre also preserved the no-hitter in the sixth when he sprinted to catch a fly ball to right-center by Ausmus.

Zambrano was perfect until he walked Morgan Ensberg leading off the bottom of the fifth. Zambrano has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his last seven starts.

Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones hit solo homers in the third to stretch Chicago's lead to 6-0.

Astros starter Taylor Buchholz (3-5) was tagged for 11 hits and eight runs in five innings.

Reds 8, Cardinals 7 -- Ken Griffey Jr. hit a go-ahead three-run homer off Jason Isringhausen in the top of the ninth to give Cincinnati a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

Earlier, Griffey had tied Fred McGriff's major league record by homering in his 43d stadium with a solo shot in the fifth off St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan. Griffey's 10th homer, with one out in the ninth, erased a 7-5 deficit.

Isringhausen (1-3) is tied for the NL lead with 18 saves but has allowed four homers in 23 innings and has blown saves in two of his last three appearances.

Juan Encarnacion and pinch hitter Chris Duncan hit two-run homers and Yadier Molina also homered for the Cardinals.

Giants 14, Marlins 2 -- Lance Niekro had a career-high four RBIs and Barry Bonds hit his 716th career homer, a two-run shot in the fifth as San Francisco pounded visiting Florida.

Bonds connected off Brian Moehler (3-5) for his eighth homer of the season and first since passing Babe Ruth to move into second place on the career list May 28 against Colorado. Bonds is 40 homers from passing Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Randy Winn added a two-run triple and three RBIs for the Giants, and Noah Lowry (2-3) pitched five strong innings to end a four-start winless stretch.

Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3 -- At Phoenix, Mike Lieberthal hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth and Philadelphia prevented Arizona's Brandon Webb from becoming the majors' first nine-game winner.

Webb extended his team-record scoreless streak to 30 innings before the Phillies scored two runs in the sixth. Chase Utley singled and scored when Pat Burrell grounded into a double play. Ryan Howard followed with his 20th homer.

Nationals 5, Braves 4 -- Livan Hernandez (5-5) won his fourth straight start for visiting Washington, earning his first victory against Atlanta in nearly six years.

The Nationals had to hold on after closer Chad Cordero loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth. But Cordero got Adam LaRoche to ground out on a hard one-hopper to short, notching his 10th save in 12 chances.

Mets 4, Dodgers 1 -- Alay Soler (1-1) allowed one run in seven innings for his first major league victory and Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado homered in the first to jump-start New York's win at Los Angeles.

Brewers 5, Padres 2 -- Carlos Lee hit his 19th home run, Chris Capuano (6-4) pitched his way out of trouble for six innings, and host Milwaukee took advantage of nine walks to snap its eight-game losing streak.

Pirates 5, Rockies 2 -- At Denver, Ian Snell (6-3) struck out a career-high 10 as Pittsburgh won only its fifth road game of the season.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0 -- Daniel Cabrera allowed three hits in five innings in his return from the disabled list and Kevin Millar homered as host Baltimore blanked Toronto.

Activated before the game after missing 21 days with a muscle strain in his right shoulder, Cabrera (3-2) struck out nine and walked five. The righthander didn't permit a runner past second base in earning his first win in four starts since April 28.

Toronto, which came in hitting a major-league best .303, managed only four singles and struck out 10 times against Cabrera and three relievers.

Ted Lilly (5-6) allowed four runs, three earned, and 10 hits in six innings. Millar led off the second for Baltimore with his sixth homer, and Jeff Conine added an RBI single later in the inning.

Devil Rays 4, Angels 0 -- James Shields scattered seven hits over six innings to get his first major league win, leading Tampa Bay past visiting Los Angeles.

Shields struck out six and walked two in his second career start. The Angels had at least one runner reach base in all six innings against the righthander, and stranded 12 runners total.

Mariners 4, Royals 1 -- Gil Meche (5-4) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run single to lift Seattle at home.

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