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Helling handles Houston

Phillies throttle Marlins

Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer and Rick Helling pitched seven strong innings to lead the Brewers past the Houston Astros, 4-2, yesterday in Milwaukee.

Houston remained a half-game ahead of Florida in the wild-card race. The Astros, who failed to move a season-high 12 games over .500, begin a four-game series with the Marlins tonight in Houston.

Helling (2-0) was making his fourth start of the season and picked up his first win as a starter. He gave up five hits and had a season-high six strikeouts.

Derrick Turnbow pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 34 chances.

Phillies 11, Marlins 1 -- Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer and had four RBIs, Jon Lieber pitched seven sharp innings, and host Philadelphia breezed past Florida.

Kenny Lofton added a two-run triple and drove in three runs, and Jimmy Rollins scored twice and had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 17 games for the Phillies, who are 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the wild-card race.

Braves 9, Nationals 7 -- Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones hit consecutive homers off Washington closer Chad Cordero with two outs in the ninth, rallying visiting Atlanta.

Chipper Jones's two-run shot off Cordero (2-4) erased a 7-6 deficit for Atlanta -- which led, 6-2, before Washington scored five times in the eighth.

Andruw Jones followed with his second homer of the game and 49th of the season, on an 0-2 pitch. He's homered in three straight games to race past the franchise record of 47 homers shared by Hall of Famers Hank Aaron (1971) and Eddie Mathews (1953).

Mets 7, Cardinals 2 -- Pedro Martinez stopped his own two-game skid as well as New York's six-game losing streak, pitching eight strong innings in St. Louis.

Carlos Beltran homered and Mike Jacobs doubled twice with an RBI to help the Mets beat the Cardinals for the first time in 12 games on the road.

Dodgers 7, Padres 3 -- Brad Penny overcame a shaky start to pitch six solid innings, Jose Cruz and rookie Dioner Navarro hit back-to-back homers in the fourth, and Los Angeles beat San Diego at Chavez Ravine.

Cubs 3, Giants 2 -- Neifi Perez hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth against his former team, and Chicago finished up its 8-2 road trip with a win in San Francisco.

Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 2 -- Aaron Cook pitched his third career complete game to win his fifth straight decision, and Matt Holliday keyed a six-run fourth with a three-run double as host Colorado avoided a three-game sweep.

Reds 5, Pirates 3 -- At Cincinnati, pinch hitter Austin Kearns had a tying two-run single and Felipe Lopez delivered the go-ahead hit as the Reds came from behind to beat Pittsburgh.

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