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Astros knock Cubs out of first

Joe Torre joins firefighters from New York and Toronto in ceremonies marking Sept. 11. Joe Torre joins firefighters from New York and Toronto in ceremonies marking Sept. 11. (J.P. MOCzulski/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Chicago Cubs know they can't waste too many more chances like this.

Luke Scott tripled home the winning run in the 11th inning and the Houston Astros dropped the visiting Cubs out of a tie for the NL Central lead, beating Chicago, 5-4, last night.

Chicago blew a 4-1 lead, stranded 15 runners, and squandered a bases-loaded threat in the 11th. The Cubs have lost four of six and fell one game behind Milwaukee, which beat Pittsburgh, 6-1.

"We had some opportunities and didn't get it done," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "That's a tough one to swallow."

The Astros ended a five-game losing streak and won for the fifth time in 13 games since Cecil Cooper replaced Phil Garner as manager Aug. 27.

Ryan Dempster (2-6) walked Mark Loretta with one out in the 11th and Eric Bruntlett ran for him. Scott followed with his game-winner. "I made a stupid pitch," Dempster said, without waiting for reporters to ask him a question. "I walked a guy, made a stupid pitch, and lost the game."

The Cubs put two runners on with one out in both the eighth and ninth innings. Carlos Lee made a diving catch in left-center on Ryan Theriot's liner to end the first threat and Mark DeRosa, who had hit a three-run homer earlier, grounded into a double play to stall the second.

Brewers 6, Pirates 1 - Prince Fielder hit his 44th home run and Corey Hart also connected to support Yovani Gallardo's six shutout innings, helping Milwaukee win in Pittsburgh.

Indians 8, White Sox 3 - Paul Byrd got his 15th victory and Travis Hafner had three RBIs as surging Cleveland won for the 15th time in 18 games by winning in Chicago.

Byrd (15-6) allowed three runs and six hits, including two homers by Juan Uribe.

Cleveland benefited by the wildness of Chicago pitchers, collecting 10 walks, including two with the bases loaded in a three-run sixth.

Rangers, 13-6; Tigers, 4-1 - Rookie righthander Jair Jurrjens allowed one run over five innings to lead host Detroit to a split of a day-night doubleheader. Marlon Byrd hit two of the Rangers' seven homers in their win in the opener.

Rockies 8, Phillies 2 - Matt Holliday hit two homers, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton each hit solo home runs, and Franklin Morales threw five scoreless innings to lead Colorado to a victory in Philadelphia.

Athletics 7, Mariners 4 - Mark Ellis tied a career high with four hits and Mike Piazza and Shannon Stewart each had three hits and two RBIs for Oakland as host Seattle lost for the 15th time in 17 games.

Giants 2, Diamondbacks 1 - Dan Ortmeier tripled to start the eighth inning and scored the go-ahead run on Pedro Feliz's sacrifice fly as host San Francisco snapped Arizona's six-game winning streak.

Angels 10, Orioles 5 - Vladimir Guerrero returned from a four-game absence because of an inflamed right triceps and hit two home runs, leading visiting Los Angeles past Baltimore.

Marlins 13, Nationals 8 - Hanley Ramirez homered twice (Nos. 27 and 28) and Mike Jacobs drove in five runs, powering Florida over visiting Washington.

Padres 9, Dodgers 4 - Jake Peavy won his NL-leading 17th game and the San Diego offense backed him with four homers in a victory over host Los Angeles.

Twins 6, Royals 3 - Scott Baker beat visiting Kansas City for the third time this season, as Minnesota extended the Royals' losing streak to seven games.

Reds 7, Cardinals 2 - Adam Dunn hit a grand slam and a solo homer off Mark Mulder as Cincinnati extended visiting St. Louis's losing streak to five.

Braves 13, Mets 5 - Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Atlanta (13 hits) roughed up Orlando Hernandez in New York.

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