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NL ROUNDUP

Astros, Reds split long day

Carlos Beltran and Mike Lamb hit ninth-inning homers yesterday, sending the Houston Astros to an 8-0 victory over the host Cincinnati Reds that ended a draining day that started at 11:30 a.m.

It started with the Reds beating the Astros, 3-2, in 13 innings, finishing a game suspended in the sixth inning overnight because of rain.

Beltran had a three-run homer and Lamb added a two-run shot off Gabe White in the second game, assuring Houston of a split.

Darren Oliver (3-3), acquired from Florida July 22, made his first start for the Astros and allowed only Adam Dunn's single in five innings.

Giants 8, Cardinals 7 -- Ray Durham's bases-loaded triple capped an eight-run first inning, and host San Francisco held on. Matt Morris (11-7) got just two outs in a disastrous start for St. Louis, allowing seven hits and a walk and hitting another of the 11 batters he faced.

Jim Edmonds tied a career high with four hits, including a homer, and drove in four runs.

Braves 8, Mets 0 -- Jaret Wright stayed undefeated in July and Johnny Estrada homered to lead host Atlanta past New York and spoil the Mets' debut of Kris Benson. The Mets acquired Benson from Pittsburgh a day earlier. Pitching against the Braves for his third straight start, Benson (8-9) lasted five innings and lost for the second time in a row.

Expos 8, Marlins 5 -- In Miami, Terrmel Sledge hit his first career grand slam after Paul Lo Duca hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat for Florida to lead Montreal over the Marlins. Lo Duca, acquired from the Dodgers Friday, entered the game in the sixth as a pinch hitter and homered to put Florida ahead, 5-4. In the seventh, the Expos loaded the bases against relievers Matt Perisho and Josias Manzanillo. Sledge hit Manzanillo's first pitch over the wall. Phillies 4, Cubs 3 -- Mike Lieberthal and Bobby Abreu each hit two-run homers following Chicago errors, helping visiting Philadelphia end its five-game losing skid.Pirates 4, Brewers 1 -- Ryan Vogelsong threw five strong innings to lead visiting Pittsburgh.Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 4 -- Shawn Estes pitched six solid innings and host Colorado took advantage of Arizona's shoddy defense in a five-run sixth inning.Padres 3, Dodgers 2 -- Phil Nevin's infield single drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and host San Diego edged Los Angeles.

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