Once the Philadelphia Phillies broke up Dontrelle Willis's shutout in the ninth inning, there was no stopping them.
Thanks in part to the Marlins' inept bullpen and defense, the first 10 batters in the ninth reached base, and Philadelphia won, 10-2, yesterday in Miami.
Willis (21-9) was on the verge of becoming baseball's first 22-game winner when he took a three-hitter and a 2-0 lead into the ninth. Instead, his streak of victories in six consecutive starts ended.
The Phillies won for the sixth time in seven games and are a half-game behind Houston in the wild-card chase.
Florida allowed four unearned runs in the nightmarish inning, committing four errors -- a team record for one inning -- and at least two other fielding lapses.
Todd Jones blew a save for the first time in 28 chances. He faced five batters, gave up five runs, and committed a throwing error that allowed Philadelphia to score the go-ahead run.
Cardinals 5, Cubs 1 -- Mark Mulder (16-7) allowed eight hits and a run in seven innings and helped himself with a squeeze bunt and single off Greg Maddux as St. Louis beat host Chicago to win its 95th game.
Two days after clinching the Central, the win allowed St. Louis to finally celebrate. The team didn't celebrate Thursday when its fourth division title in six years became a certainty, holding off until ensuring it would finish with more wins than second-place Houston.
With two starts left -- and a very outside chance of a third on short rest -- Maddux (12-13) has all but lost his remarkable streak of 15-win seasons. He'd won at least 15 games for a major league-record 17 straight seasons.
Astros 7, Brewers 0 -- Craig Biggio hit his NL-record 43d leadoff homer and Brandon Backe had his best outing since returning from the disabled list in host Houston's victory over Milwaukee.
Biggio, leading off for only the 10th time this season, connected off Wes Obermueller (1-4).
Backe (9-8) made his third start since returning Sept. 7. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, walking one, and striking out five.
Giants 2, Dodgers 1 -- Omar Vizquel lined a tiebreaking single to right with two outs in the eighth and Randy Winn hit his career-high 16th home run, leading host San Francisco over Los Angeles.
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5 -- Tony Clark hit home runs from both sides of the plate, including a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning, and Chad Tracy went 4 for 4 with a homer to rally Arizona over Colorado in Phoenix.
Braves 7, Mets 4 -- Adam LaRoche homered and had four hits, and Marcus Giles also connected to lead Tim Hudson (13-8) and visiting Atlanta over New York.
Pirates 4, Reds 0 -- Jason Bay had three hits, including his 30th home run, and Paul Maholm allowed four hits in eight innings as Pittsburgh beat visiting Cincinnati.