Jason Marquis was nearly perfect in his latest stellar start for the Chicago Cubs.
Marquis retired the first 16 batters he faced and finished with a three-hitter to win his fifth straight start as the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Marquis' bid for a perfect game ended when No. 8 hitter Don Kelly slapped an opposite-field single to left with one out in the sixth.
``I knew I had a no-hitter going,'' he said. ``I pitch to contact. Guys are going to find holes. My goal is to win ball games, not throw no-hitters.''
Ryan Doumit doubled with two outs in the seventh and Jose Bautista singled in the eighth.
``He was mixing his pitches well, getting ahead and throwing all of his pitches for strikes,'' Kelly said. ``That makes it tough to square the ball up.''
Marquis' second career shutout and fourth complete game couldn't have come at a better time for the Cubs, whose bullpen was spent following a 15-inning loss to the Pirates the previous night.
Marquis (5-1), who signed a three-year, $21 million contract with Chicago in the offseason after he was left off the roster by the St. Louis Cardinals for the final two rounds of the playoffs last fall, is in a midst of his best stretch to start a season.
``My delivery is as consistent as it's ever been. I feel like I'm repeating the same delivery over and over again and that's the reason, I really believe, for the success,'' Marquis said.
In other NL games, it was: Milwaukee 3, Washington 1; St. Louis 9, Colorado 2; New York 5, San Francisco 3; Philadelphia 9, Arizona 3; Los Angeles 5, Florida 3; Houston 3, Cincinnati 2; and Atlanta 3, San Diego 2.
Marquis walked none and struck out five. He outpitched Pirates lefty Tom Gorzelanny (4-2), who gave up only six hits over seven innings, including a leadoff homer to Alfonso Soriano.
``You never think 1-0 after the leadoff hitter hits one out of the ballpark,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. ``Jason made it stand up. You could tell he had good stuff in the middle part of the ballgame. He finished in convincing fashion.''
It was the second straight strong effort against the Pirates for Marquis, who limited Pittsburgh to four hits over eight innings a week ago at PNC Park.
Marquis, who pitched a two-hitter against Washington in 2005 while with the Cardinals for his other shutout, got several line-drive outs. First baseman Derrek Lee snared two of them, including a nice lunging grab in the hole to rob Kelly of a hit in the third.
Soriano's leadoff homer extended his hitting streak to 17 games and it turned out that was all Marquis needed.
Brewers 3, Nationals 1
Geoff Jenkins homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth and host Milwaukee won its sixth straight.
Prince Fielder singled off Micah Bowie (0-2), Bill Hall and Jenkins followed with singles off Jesus Colome. Hall scored on Colome's wild pitch with two outs to make it 3-1.
Derrick Turnbow (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Francisco Cordero, who appeared in a game for the sixth straight day, got his 15th save.
Cardinals 9, Rockies 2
Adam Wainwright (3-2) worked six innings and host St. Louis scored in multiple innings for the first time in seven games.
Aaron Miles had three hits and an RBI and Scott Spiezio had two hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who scored two runs in the second, two in the fifth, four in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe each had an RBI double for the Rockies, who have lost three of four. Jason Hirsh (2-3) gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in four-plus innings.
Mets 5, Giants 3
David Wright hit a go-ahead, two-run double off former Mets closer Armando Benitez (0-1) in the ninth inning to lead visiting New York.
Carlos Delgado hit a solo homer into McCovey Cove and doubled in the tying run in the eighth for the Mets.
Aaron Heilman (3-2) recorded two outs for the win and Billy Wagner finished for his eighth save.
Astros 3, Reds 2
At Cincinnati, Lance Berkman homered for the third straight game and right-hander Woody Williams (1-5) singled home a run to set up his first victory for Houston.
Brad Lidge retired the four batters he faced, and Dan Wheeler finished for his seventh save as the Astros improved to 7-1 against the Reds this season, including 5-0 at Great American Ball Park.
Adam Dunn hit 10th homer and Matt Belisle (3-2) gave up three runs and struck out a career-high seven in seven innings as the Reds fell into last place in the NL Central with their seventh loss in eight games.
Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 3
Ryan Howard hit a pinch-hit grand slam off Brandon Medders (1-1) in the seventh inning to lead visiting Philadelphia.
Jamie Moyer (4-2) won the matchup of the oldest lefties in history. The 44-year-old Moyer outpitched Randy Johnson, 43, who struck out nine - including the first six batters he faced - in six-plus innings.
Eric Byrnes and Orlando Hudson homered for the Diamondbacks.
Dodgers 5, Marlins 3
Brett Tomko took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and earned his first win of the season as Los Angeles beat Dontrelle Willis and host Florida.
Tomko (1-3) allowed five hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings. He bunted home a run on a suicide squeeze to help Los Angeles build a 4-0 lead. Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his 10th save, converting his 20th consecutive save opportunity over the past two seasons.
Willis (5-2) walked five and allowed four runs in seven innings, leaving his ERA at 5.40.
Braves 3, Padres 2
Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones came up with two-out, run-scoring hits in the seventh inning, helping John Smoltz (5-1) and host Atlanta beat San Diego.
Smoltz gave up homers to Adrian Gonzalez and light-hitting Geoff Blum before leaving for a pinch hitter with the Padres leading 2-1. After Kelly Johnson and Willie Harris had two-out singles off Cla Meredith (1-1) in the seventh, Chipper Jones lined the first pitch to the gap in right-center for a ground-rule double and Andruw Jones followed with a run-scoring single to right.
Rafael Soriano earned his fourth save as the fill-in closer for the injured Bob Wickman.

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