HOUSTON (AP) -Steve Trachsel earned his first win with the Cubs in eight years and Chicago hit four home runs to regain the NL Central lead by beating Houston 6-2 on Thursday night.
Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Daryle Ward and Cliff Floyd homered for Chicago, which moved a half-game ahead of idle Milwaukee in the division race.
Trachsel (1-2) gave up two solo homers and seven hits in five innings for his first win since the Cubs acquired him from Baltimore on Aug. 31. The 36-year-old right-hander pitched for the Cubs from 1993-99, and his last win with them came on Oct. 3, 1999.
Kerry Wood and two other relievers combined for four innings of one-hit ball.
Carlos Lee and Mark Loretta homered for the Astros, who have dropped 10 of 15 since Cecil Cooper replaced Phil Garner as manager on Aug. 27. Woody Williams (8-15) gave up four homers for the first time this season and lost his fourth straight start.
Soriano hit Williams' second pitch of the game for his 40th career leadoff homer. He has eight leadoff home runs this season, tying the Cubs record set by Rick Monday in 1976.
Ramirez added a three-run shot in the inning.
Dodgers 6, Padres 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Wells beat Greg Maddux in a matchup of 40-something pitchers and rookie James Loney drove in four runs for Los Angeles.
By winning the rubber game of a three-game series, the Dodgers moved within 1 1/2 games of the Padres in the NL wild-card race. Philadelphia also trails San Diego by 1 1/2 games and Colorado is 2 1/2 back.
The second-place Padres trail NL West-leading Arizona by four games, and Los Angeles is 5 1/2 behind.
Released by the Padres last month, Wells (8-8) allowed four hits and three runs in six innings. He had two hits for the first multihit game of his career. The 44-year-old left-hander is 3-0 in four starts with the Dodgers.
Scott Proctor, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito each pitched a perfect inning, with Saito earning his 38th save.
The 41-year-old Maddux (12-10) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings - his shortest stint of the season.
Loney went 9-for-13 with eight RBIs in the series. He has five of his 11 homers and 12 of his 52 RBIs in his last seven games.
Phillies 12, Rockies 4
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Chase Utley hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia's much-maligned bullpen allowed one run over the final eight innings.
Geoff Geary (2-2) pitched three scoreless innings after starter J.D. Durbin lasted just one-plus inning, then five other relievers allowed one run over the final five innings.
The Phillies, who were outscored 20-2 in consecutive losses, moved within 1 1/2 games of San Diego in the NL wild-card standings. The Padres lost 6-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are tied with the Phillies. The Rockies fell one game behind Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Rockies starter Jeff Francis (15-8) couldn't make it out of the fourth. Utley, the NL's leading hitter with a .338 average, ripped his 19th homer to give the Phillies a 6-3 lead.
Garrett Atkins hit a solo homer off Clay Condrey to cut it to 8-4 in the fifth, but the Phillies scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Francis allowed eight runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. The left-hander came in with a 2.31 ERA in his previous five starts and had pitched 13 straight scoreless innings on the road.
Durbin exited after allowing consecutive singles to start the second. He gave up three runs, five hits and walked three.
Reds 5, Cardinals 4
CINCINNATI (AP) - Joey Votto hit a two-run double and David Ross had a two-run homer as Cincinnati kept St. Louis winless on its seven-game road trip.
The Cardinals ended the trip with their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since July 1998. It's their first winless trip of at least seven games since May 1972, when they went 0-7 in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
The defending World Series champions had closed within a game of first place in the NL Central before hitting the road. They are five games behind first-place Chicago and 4 1/2 behind Milwaukee in the division.
Votto doubled in the fifth off Kip Wells (6-17) - his third hit of the game - and Ross followed with his first homer since July 23.
Aaron Harang (15-4) gave up three hits and three sacrifice flies - two by Albert Pujols - in seven innings. David Weathers gave up an RBI single in the ninth before becoming the ninth Cincinnati closer to record 30 saves.
End Capsules

Recent MLB Discussions

dod 1st 5 thats it on Thu, Oct 2016 by Timmy1961
dod/cubs on Thu, Oct 2016 by Michael Cash
mlb early play on Wed, Oct 2016 by sharkey11

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail North Siders' bats rise as NCLS progresses Anthony Rizzo is still batting well below .200 in the playoffs. Yet the Chicago first baseman seems to be heating up at precisely...
Thumbnail Hosts ask Urias to give them 3-1 NLCS edge Tonight, Julio Urias will make history in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Dodgers simply hope that it’s for all the right reasons.
Thumbnail Francona needs relief corps to thrive again The Blue Jays suddenly have life in the NLCS. Now, though, can they truly put fear in the Indians and send the festivities back to northern...
Thumbnail Arrieta tries to lift visitors at Chavez Ravine After getting punched in the mouth in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Dodgers struck back on Sunday night. Can they keep running with the Cubs as the action...
Thumbnail Donaldson, Toronto on brink of elimination In a close-out situation, Cleveland manager Terry Francona wants to leave as little to chance as possible. Which is why Corey Kluber, on short rest and all,...
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Team Pages