Braves Hang On
A questionable strike call helped the Atlanta Braves hold on against the team with the best record in the NL.
Closer Bob Wickman came into the bottom of the ninth with a four-run lead against the San Diego Padres, and escaped with a 5-4 win Sunday night after Marcus Giles took a called third strike to end the game with runners on first and second.
San Diego scored three times on run-scoring hits by Michael Barrett, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Brian Giles before Marcus Giles struck out looking.
The Padres weren't happy with home plate umpire CB Bucknor's calls.
``It was a ball,'' Marcus Giles said after watching replays. ``Judging by the overhead, it was about four to five inches. It hit the white line in the other batter's box.
``But, who knows? I don't really want to say any more about the calls because I don't want to stick my foot in my mouth. I don't want to get that mean publicly.''
Manager Bud Black stopped short, too.
``I think there were some questionable calls tonight. I guess you can say that about every game,'' Black said. ``Tonight it looked as though ... I'll leave it at that.''
All-Star catcher Brian McCann homered and drove in four runs against Greg Maddux. McCann came into the game in a 4-for-25 skid.
``It's been up and down,'' said McCann, the NL's backup catcher for Tuesday night's All-Star game. ``But there's two halves to the season and I can still end up helping this team win. Hopefully I can do something in the second half with the bat.''
Kelly Johnson also homered and Andruw Jones went 3-for-3 and scored two runs for the Braves, who took two of three from the NL West-leading Padres to go into the break two games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.
The Padres, trying for their third straight division title, have a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego enters the break with an NL-best 49-38 record. They lead the NL West at the break for the sixth time club history. The previous five times, they went on to win the division.
In other NL games Sunday, it was: Philadelphia 8, Colorado 4; Pittsburgh 6, Chicago 2; Los Angeles 9, Florida 3; Houston 8, New York 3; St. Louis 7, San Francisco 0; Cincinnati 4, Arizona 3 in 11 innings; and Washington 7, Milwaukee 2.
The Braves went 6-4 on a bicoastal road trip. The Padres lost for the fifth time in eight games.
Maddux (7-6), who pitched for the Braves from 1993-2003, failed to get an out in the sixth before he was chased by McCann's two-run single to center that made it 5-1.
Given a 3-0 lead in the second on homers by McCann and Johnson, Kyle Davies (4-7) ended his career-worst streak of four straight losing decisions. He held San Diego to one run and four hits in six innings while striking out six and walking one.
Phillies 8, Rockies 4
Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and Pat Burrell hit his 11th homer for visiting Philadelphia.
Adam Eaton (8-5) won for the first time since June 11, going six innings and giving up four runs and eight hits.
Todd Helton and Kaz Matsui homered for the Rockies, whose five-game winning streak ended. Aaron Cook (5-6) allowed five runs in six innings.
Pirates 6, Cubs 2
Jason Bay, slumping for more than a month, hit a two-run homer off Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano and drove in four runs for host Pittsburgh.
Shane Youman (2-0) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings to get the win.
Zambrano (10-7) gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings.
Dodgers 9, Marlins 3
Russell Martin hit a two-run homer, Andre Ethier added a three-run shot and Los Angeles avoided a sweep heading into the All-Star break.
The host Dodgers had lost four in a row and seven of their last 11 before salvaging the finale of the three-game series.
Pitching on three days' rest, Mark Hendrickson (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.
Florida's Scott Olsen (6-7) gave up three runs and five hits in one inning. He left after 31 pitches because of a stiff back and is day to day.
Astros 8, Mets 3
Roy Oswalt (8-5) tossed seven effective innings and Chris Burke hit a two-run homer for host Houston.
A day after going 13 innings without a run in a 5-3, 17-inning loss, the Astros scored early and often against Mets starter Dave Williams (0-1). Houston led 8-0 after four.
Cardinals 7, Giants 0
Chris Duncan drove in three runs and host St. Louis avoided a three-game sweep.
Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 for San Francisco and remained at 751 career home runs. His chase of Hank Aaron is now on a four-day hiatus for the All-Star break.
Barry Zito (6-9) gave up six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) pitched five shutout innings.
Reds 4, Diamondbacks 3, 11 innings
Scott Hatteberg's two-out single in the 11th inning - his fourth hit of the game - helped host Cincinnati complete its first sweep of the season and its first over Arizona since 1999.
The Reds have won a season-high four in a row and gone 5-1 under interim manager Pete Mackanin, who took over when Jerry Narron was fired. Arizona has lost five straight - matching its season high - and eight of nine overall.
Nationals 7, Brewers 2
Ryan Zimmerman's two-run homer ignited a six-run rally in the sixth inning for host Washington.
Tim Redding (1-1) won as a starter for the first time since July 24, 2004, for Houston against Milwaukee. Redding yielded two runs and five hits in six innings.
The Nationals sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth. They scored six times against Chris Capuano (5-6) - their biggest inning of the season - to erase a 2-1 deficit.
by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us
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