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NL ROUNDUP

Braves run streak to 5

Rookie Jeff Francoeur homered and drove in four runs, and the Braves used a seven-run sixth inning to rally past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-6, last night in Atlanta for their fifth straight victory.

Francoeur's two-run double started the scoring in the sixth and gave the Braves their first lead at 4-3. Johnny Estrada and Kelly Johnson followed with RBI doubles to chase Mark Redman (5-11) with none out.

Reliever Brian Meadows allowed pinch hitter Wilson Betemit's single, Rafael Furcal's sacrifice fly, Marcus Giles's RBI triple, and Chipper Jones's sacrifice fly to end the scoring and make it 9-3.

The Braves, who increased their NL East Division lead to five games over Washington and Florida, hadn't scored so many runs in an inning since Aug. 22, 2004, when they had an eight-run second at Los Angeles.

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 4 -- Jim Edmonds and John Mabry hit two-run homers early and David Eckstein added a three-run shot late, powering St. Louis at Los Angeles.

Jeff Suppan (10-7) won his fourth straight road start, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings. The last time he pitched at Dodger Stadium was Oct. 10, when he beat the Dodgers, 6-2, to clinch the Division Series.

Derek Lowe (7-11) lost for the seventh time in nine decisions, allowing five runs and eight hits over five innings. It was the Cardinals' second victory this year against the righthander, who wrapped up the Red Sox' four-game World Series sweep of the Cardinals with a 3-0 win.

Marlins 3, Nationals 0 -- Given the way A.J. Burnett pitched, he might be worth whatever the Florida Marlins want in a trade.

Making his final start before today's trade deadline, Burnett pitched seven dominant innings to win his third start in a row, and the Marlins extended their winning streak to four games by beating slumping Washington.

Astros 2, Mets 0 -- Andy Pettitte baffled visiting New York for eight shutout innings and Jason Lane spoiled a strong outing by Tom Glavine with a towering home run in the seventh as Houston vaulted to 10 games over .500.

The Astros have won a season-best seven straight games and 13 of 14. They're also on a 25-5 roll and are 42-17 since bottoming out at 15 games under .500 in late May.

Reds 9, Padres 1 -- Aaron Harang threw eight strong innings against his hometown team and Sean Casey and Javier Valentin homered as Cincinnati won at San Diego, dropping the Padres to two games under .500.

The loss cut the Padres' (51-53) lead in the West Division to just one game over Arizona.

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 2 -- Rookie Conor Jackson got his first two major league hits, including a go-ahead double in the eighth, as Arizona won in Chicago.

Making his first start in the majors, at first base, Jackson hit an RBI double to left in the eighth inning off Roberto Novoa to score Troy Glaus and break a 2-all tie. He singled in the second inning for his first hit in his second at-bat.

Phillies 8, Rockies 7 -- Pat Burrell had four hits to lead Philadelphia at Denver, spoiling Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook's return after a near-fatal illness.

Brewers 7, Giants 1 -- Ben Sheets pitched a six-hitter and Geoff Jenkins hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the sixth, leading Milwaukee past visiting San Francisco.

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