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Phillies keep the pressure on

Chicago's Aramis Ramirez connects for the second of his three-run homers. Chicago's Aramis Ramirez connects for the second of his three-run homers. (JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES)

The Philadelphia Phillies' 48th come-from-behind victory was much easier on the nerves than many of the other 47. Home runs from Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell had the NL East title chasers back in front before the third inning was done.

MVP contender Jimmy Rollins also homered, and the first four batters in the lineup accounted for all but one hit last night as the Phillies beat the Nationals, 6-3, in Washington to keep the pressure on the struggling New York Mets.

The Phillies, who have won eight of nine, remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets, which beat Florida, 9-6, last night.

The Phillies lead the majors in come-from-behind wins, but this one wasn't as dramatic as the rally from 6-2 down to beat the Nationals, 7-6, the night before. Washington's only lead last night was a mere 1-0 after one inning, and it was erased when Howard led off the second with his 42d homer, an opposite-field shot that barely cleared the left-field fence.

Chase Utley singled through a drawn-in infield to score Rollins in the third, and Burrell followed with a two-run homer, his 29th, to give the Phillies the lead for good.

Rollins kept pace with his teammate by also hitting No. 29, a solo homer in the fifth. Howard had an RBI double later in the fifth to spot starter Adam Eaton (10-9) a 6-1 lead.

"I believe we're going to pull it off," said Eaton, who ended a streak of eight winless starts.

Mets 9, Marlins 6 - Florida committed a team-record six errors, surrendering eight unearned runs, and visiting New York put the brakes on its free fall. Pedro Martinez (3-0) pitched five innings in his fourth start since returning from rotator cuff surgery last October. He gave up four runs, three earned, and struck out seven.

Diamondbacks 12, Dodgers 3 - Tony Clark drove in four runs, including a two-run homer, and host Arizona handed free-falling Los Angeles its sixth consecutive loss.

Rockies 2, Padres 1 - Brad Hawpe homered with two outs in the 14th inning, and visiting Colorado beat San Diego to tighten the wild-card race. The Padres lead the Phillies by 1 1/2 games.

Mariners 6, Angels 0 - Jarrod Washburn held his former teammates in check and Seattle blanked host Los Angeles to deny the Angels the AL West crown for at least another day. The Angels' lead over Seattle is 8 1/2 games.

Cubs 13, Pirates 8 - Aramis Ramirez hit his second three-run homer of the game right after a costly Pittsburgh error to help host Chicago beat Pittsburgh on a wild and windy day and strengthen its hold on first place in the NL Central.

Brewers 4, Braves 1 - Corey Hart keyed a three-run, eighth-inning rally as visiting Milwaukee remained 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs.

Astros 6, Cardinals 3 - Rookie J.R. Towles had a key two-run double as visiting Houston eliminated last year's World Series champions from postseason contention. The Cardinals (71-82) have lost 14 of 16 and are assured of their first losing season since 1999.

Indians 4, Athletics 3 - Fausto Carmona won his 18th game, Ryan Garko and Jhonny Peralta hit back-to-back homers, and host Cleveland lowered its magic number to two for clinching its first AL Central title since 2001.

Tigers 5, Royals 4 - Brandon Inge hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning and host Detroit won to maintain its slim chances of making it back to the playoffs. The defending AL champions trail the Yankees by 4 1/2 games in the wild-card race.

Rangers 3, Orioles 2 - Luis Mendoza scattered four hits over five innings for his first major league win, and host Texas snapped a four-game losing streak.

White Sox 6, Twins 4 - Josh Fields hit two homers and Jim Thome added the 503d of his career to lift host Chicago.

Reds 9, Giants 8 - Brandon Phillips went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on Jorge Cantu's sacrifice fly to lift visiting Cincinnati in the 11th inning.

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