A rally off Trevor Hoffman helped the Mets begin a crucial homestand against NL West playoff contenders with a big win. Aaron Rowand's home run helped the Phillies do the same.
Carlos Beltran had five RBIs and Luis Castillo singled home the winning run off Hoffman in the ninth, helping the Mets beat the San Diego Padres 7-6 Tuesday night in a back-and-forth game.
``To come back like that against a guy like Trevor Hoffman - that's a real big win for us. Absolutely amazing,'' Marlon Anderson said.
Rowand hit a go-ahead homer to lead the Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a 10-game homestand.
With the win, the Mets stayed five games ahead of the Phillies in the NL East, and increased their lead over the Atlanta Braves to six games. The Phillies pulled into a tie with the Padres in the wild-card race. The Dodgers remained 2 1/2 games behind in their quest for a wild card berth.
In other NL games, it was: Cincinnati 8, Atlanta 7; Washington 11, Houston 6; St. Louis 5, Florida 2; Colorado 9, Pittsburgh 2; and Chicago 5, San Francisco 1.
Beltran hit a two-run shot off Chris Young, who entered leading the majors with a 1.93 ERA, and the NL East leaders won the opener of a three-game series. After San Diego, the Dodgers come to town for three games.
Young allowed four runs and five hits in five innings and was lifted with pain in his lower back. He threw only 64 pitches.
Billy Wagner (2-1) gave up a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to Kevin Kouzmanoff that put San Diego up 6-5, but Hoffman couldn't hold the lead.
It was the fourth blown save in 35 chances this season for Hoffman, baseball's career saves leader.
``It doesn't matter how it happened,'' he said. ``They got the job done. They're in first for a reason.''
Lastings Milledge singled to start the bottom half and advanced on Mike DiFelice's sacrifice before Anderson tied it with a pinch-hit single.
Jose Reyes blooped a single to center and Castillo grounded a clean single up the middle off Hoffman (2-4). The throw from center by ex-Met Mike Cameron was a little wide, allowing Anderson to score standing up.
``Milledge hit the ball hard,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ``After that, they blooped a couple in and a groundball went through. Give the Mets credit.''
Philadelphia's win was tempered by the news that Cole Hamels has a mild left elbow strain and could miss his next two starts, including Wednesday night's outing against the Dodgers. Hamels will have an MRI exam Wednesday and might miss up to three weeks depending on the results, team doctor Michael Ciccotti said.
``Every time you turn around, someone else is getting hurt,'' said Phillies closer Brett Myers, who earned his 12th save.
Myers, Tom Gordon, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Freddy Garcia, Adam Eaton and Jon Lieber are only some of the key Phillies who have spent considerable time on the disabled list this year. Even with three-fifths of their expected rotation out, and the middle of the lineup in flux, manager Charlie Manuel has found a way to keep the Phillies in the playoff hunt.
``We have heart, man,'' Myers said. ``This team's got that edge. Teams that have been here the last four years really haven't had that edge. The will to win is here more than it has been in the past.''
Reds 8, Braves 7
At Cincinnati, Brandon Phillips hit a solo homer and a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning to lift the Reds.
Phillips broke a 7-all tie with a run-scoring single off Peter Moylan (4-3), who hit two batters during the Reds' go-ahead rally.
Left-hander Bill Bray (3-0) allowed only one hit in 1 1-3 innings, and David Weathers pitched around a single and a walk to get the final three outs for his 26th save in 31 chances.
Cubs 5, Giants 1
At San Francisco, Cliff Floyd came back from the bereavement list to hit a go-ahead two-run single in the ninth inning, when the Cubs rallied against Tim Lincecum (7-4).
Scott Eyre (1-1) pitched the eighth for the win against his old team. Jason Kendall added a two-run single later in the ninth off Steve Kline for the Cubs.
Cardinals 5, Marlins 2
At St. Louis, Albert Pujols homered for the fourth straight game and the Cardinals scored four times in the eighth inning to beat the slumping Marlins.
Armando Benitez (2-8) allowed the runs in the eighth, all unearned because of a two-out error by Hanley Ramirez.
Troy Percival (3-0) allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless eighth.
Nationals 11, Astros 6
At Houston, Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs and Nook Logan had a career-high five hits for Washington.
Wandy Rodriguez (7-12) allowed seven runs and six hits with four walks in 5 1-3 innings hadn't allowed more than one earned run at home since May 30.
Rookie Joel Hanrahan (3-1) allowed three runs and seven hits with three walks in five innings.
Rockies 9, Pirates 2
At Denver, Ian Stewart hit a third-inning grand slam in his ninth career at-bat, one of a season-high four home runs for the Rockies.
Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and Brad Hawpe also went deep for Colorado, which closed to within 2 1/2 games of NL wild-card leaders San Diego and Philadelphia. Taylor Buchholz (6-4) pitched 3 1-3 innings of scoreless relief for the win.
Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 4
At Phoenix, Gabe Gross hit a grand slam to cap a five-run seventh inning, and the Brewers remained tied with the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central.
Milwaukee's rally helped Dave Bush (10-9) earn his first win since a July 31 relief appearance against the New York Mets.
Livan Hernandez (9-8) was charged with five runs and seven hits in six-plus innings.

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