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Arroyo sparks Reds over Chicago

The last time the Reds got on this kind of a tear, they stayed in contention right down to the last game.

Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer, and first-place Cincinnati extended its best streak in seven years, beating the Chicago Cubs, 7-1, last night in Cincinnati, for its eighth straight victory.

``We're going out there expecting to win right now," said Ryan Freel, who also homered and drove in a pair of runs. ``That's a good feeling. We feel like somebody's going to do something to help us win. We're putting everything together."

At 36-24, the Reds are 12 games over .500 for the first time since June 6, 2004.

``Right now, it feels like how we felt against St. Louis in the World Series -- that we should win," said righthander Bronson Arroyo, thinking back to his title run with Boston two years ago.

Arroyo (8-2) beat the Cubs for the third time this season, giving up five hits, including Tony Womack's first homer, in seven innings. The lanky, long-haired pitcher has yet to lose at Great American Ball Park, where he's 4-0 in six starts.

Brewers 4, Padres 3 -- Bill Hall homered to lead off the bottom of the 10th and host Milwaukee, saved by a two-out error the previous inning, beat San Diego.

Padres closer Trevor Hoffman took a 3-2 lead into the ninth. With two outs and a runner on first, shortstop Khalil Greene misplayed a grounder by Rickie Weeks and Brady Clark followed with a tying single.

Nationals 5, Phillies 2 -- Alfonso Soriano hit his 23d home run and scored four runs to lead host Washington over Philadelphia.

Soriano and Mike O'Connor, who allowed three hits over six innings, teamed to stop the Phillies' four-game winning streak and give the Nationals a positive start to a season-high, 11-game homestand.

Giants 5, Pirates 4 -- Eliezer Alfonzo scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Matt Capps with two outs in the ninth inning, and host San Francisco rallied to beat Pittsburgh.

Moises Alou hit a two-run homer and was at the plate with the bases loaded when Capps bounced a pitch past catcher Ronny Paulino and Alfonzo scurried home.

Astros 7, Braves 4 -- Lance Berkman homered twice and Orlando Palmeiro had a pinch-hit, two-run single to lead host Houston over slumping Atlanta.

Berkman had a solo shot and a three-run blast, his second multihomer game of the season and 16th of his career.

Mets 7, Diamondbacks 1 -- Orlando Hernandez pitched masterfully against the team that traded him away less than a month ago, leading New York to victory over host Arizona in a showdown of division leaders.

Hernandez (4-5) took a shutout into the ninth and finished with a three-hitter for his ninth career complete game and first since Sept. 16, 2000.

Athletics 4, Indians 1 -- Esteban Loaiza came off the disabled list and got his first win for Oakland, pitching seven superb innings to give the Athletics a victory in Cleveland.

Activated before the game, Loaiza (1-3) took a two-hit shutout into the seventh in his first major league start since April 23. The righthander, signed as a free agent in the offseason, had been sidelined with a strained shoulder muscle.

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5 -- Justin Speier walked Brian Roberts to force in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, and host Baltimore rallied to beat Toronto.

The Orioles trailed, 5-4, in the eighth before scoring three runs against four Toronto relievers on two hits, a hit batter, a walk, and a wild pitch.

Twins 7, Mariners 3 -- Joe Mauer had three hits and ace Johan Santana survived a rocky beginning in Minnesota's victory in Seattle.

One day after reaching base five times, Mauer doubled twice and singled. The Mariners had seen enough of him by the fourth inning -- they intentionally walked him.

Royals 16, Rangers 12 -- David DeJesus drove in four runs, Matt Stairs hit a three-run homer, and host Kansas City made up a seven-run deficit in a win over Texas.

DeJesus finished 3 for 5 and scored three runs, and Mark Teahen went 4 for 4 for the Royals, who snapped a nine-game home losing streak.

Tigers 6, White Sox 2 -- Kenny Rogers settled down after a shaky start to retire 17 straight in seven strong innings, and Marcus Thames homered to cap a four-run sixth as Detroit won in Chicago to stay atop the AL Central.

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