Jim Edmonds homered twice, giving him seven in six games, as the Cardinals put on a power show to beat the San Diego Padres, 9-3, last night in St. Louis.
Albert Pujols and Edgar Renteria each homered and had three hits for the NL Central leaders. Reggie Sanders also had three hits and drove in a run. Woody Williams (10-7) became the fifth member of the Cardinals' rotation to reach double figures in victories.
The Cardinals beat up on 13-game winner Brian Lawrence and the San Diego bullpen to win their fourth in a row, derailing the Padres' chance to take over the wild-card lead on a night when the Cubs also lost.
A San Francisco victory put the Giants and Chicago in a virtual tie, a half-game ahead of San Diego.
Giants 9, Rockies 5 -- In San Francisco, Yorvit Torrealba and Marquis Grissom homered, and Ray Durham hit a tiebreaking three-run double to lift the hosts over Colorado.
Barry Bonds (1 for 2, double) remained at 696 career homers, but the Giants got enough offense from other sources and Brett Tomko (8-6) won his third straight decision.
Expos 8, Cubs 0 -- Livan Hernandez allowed three hits in eight scoreless innings, and Brad Wilkerson and Maicer Izturis each hit home runs in Montreal's home victory over Chicago.
Hernandez (10-12) also had two hits, including an RBI single. Chicago starter Mark Prior (4-4) allowed four runs in the first, including Wilkerson's leadoff homer.
Braves 5, Phillies 3 -- Mike Hampton pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer, leading Atlanta to victory in Philadelphia.
Eli Marrero went 3 for 4 and Julio Franco had two RBIs for the Braves, who got another strong effort from Hampton (11-9). He is 10-2 in his last 12 starts.
Astros 8, Reds 0 -- In Cincinnati, Jeff Kent homered twice and Houston hit three straight shots in the fifth inning, fueling the rout. Carlos Beltran, Jeff Bagwell, and Lance Berkman hit consecutive home runs for the Astros, winners of a season-high five straight and eight of nine overall.
Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 1 -- Steve Finley hit a three-run double in the 13th, lifting Los Angeles to the win in Phoenix. Finley earlier homered off Randy Johnson as he faced the Diamondbacks for the first time since being traded July 31.
Brewers 4, Pirates 2 -- Milwaukee snapped a 12-game losing streak and avoided the worst month in franchise history with a home victory over Pittsburgh.
Marlins 5, Mets 0 -- In New York, Josh Beckett pitched a six-hitter for his first regular-season shutout as Florida won its fifth straight.