CHICAGO (AP) -Alfonso Soriano hit two of Chicago's four homers and had five RBIs as the Cubs continued their late-season power display, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-5 Saturday to solidify their lead in the NL Central.
The Cubs began the day with a 1 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee, which played later at Atlanta.
Soriano hit a solo shot to tie the game in the second and a two-run blast in the fifth for his team-leading 31st homer. The Cubs' star has four home runs in three games and 13 in the 25 games since he came off the disabled list Aug. 28. He added a two-run double in the seventh.
Aramis Ramirez, who had two homers Friday, added another and Derrek Lee also went deep as the Cubs hit four homers for the second straight game. The Pirates lost their eighth straight, their longest losing streak of the season.
Pirates starter Zach Duke (3-8), making his second appearance and first start since June 28 after spending more than two months on the disabled list because of a sore left elbow, lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and five runs - four of them earned.
Rich Hill (10-8) got the win with five innings of work, yielding five hits and three runs.
Mets 7, Marlins 2
MIAMI (AP) - Oliver Perez pitched eight innings, Moises Alou extended his hitting streak to a team record-tying 26 games and New York strengthened its hold on the NL East by beating Florida.
Following a brief September swoon, the Mets won their second straight and remained 1 1/2 games in front of Philadelphia. New York's magic number to clinch division was seven with eight games to play.
Perez (15-9) gave up six hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out eight. Aaron Heilman completed the seven-hitter.
Six of the Mets' runs came with two out, and they made the most of their three hits off Byung-Hyun Kim (9-8). He allowed five runs in five innings.
Phillies 4, Nationals 1, 10 innings
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ryan Howard drove in the go-ahead run, helping Philadelphia keep pace in the NL East.
Chase Utley homered for the Phillies, who won for the ninth time in 10 games and remained 1 1/2 games back of the New York Mets in the division. Philadelphia trails San Diego by a half-game in the wild-card race.
Howard tied his career high for a game by striking out in his previous four at-bats, but after a single by Utley and a walk by Pat Burrell, came back to line a 1-2 pitch off Chris Schroder (2-3) and drive in the go-ahead run.
Tom Gordon retired Washington in order in the eighth and Brett Myers (5-7), the fifth Philadelphia pitcher, picked up the win by setting down the Nationals in order in the ninth.
Rockies 6, Padres 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Brad Hawpe drove in two runs and the Rockies matched a season-high with their seventh straight win, closing within 2 1/2 games of the wild card-leading Padres.
San Diego, which has lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak, dropped 2 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona, a 6-2 winner over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hawpe went 4-for-4 with a walk one night after hitting the go-ahead home run in the 14th inning of a 2-1 win over the Padres. He is 10-for-18 with nine RBIs in his last four games.
San Diego rookie Jack Cassel (1-1) lasted just 2 1-3 innings, giving up three runs and six hits.
Mark Redman lasted into the fifth inning before giving way to four Colorado relievers, who combined to yield just one hit in 4 2-3 innings. Rookie Ryan Speier (2-1) got the win, striking out three of the five batters he faced.
Braves 4, Brewers 3, 11 innings
ATLANTA (AP) - Second baseman Rickie Weeks made an error on a routine grounder in the 11th inning and Mark Teixeira followed with an RBI single, giving Atlanta a win that left Milwaukee with a 2 1/2-game deficit in the NL Central.
Needing to win, the Brewers were one out away in the 10th when closer Francisco Cordero gave up a tying home run to pinch-hitter Scott Thorman.
Edgar Renteria drew a leadoff walk from Seth McClung (0-1) in the Braves 11th and Willie Harris pinch-ran. Brian Shouse relieved, and Chipper Jones hit an easy grounder that Weeks misplayed.
Teixeira singled past first baseman Price Fielder to win it.
Joey Devine (1-0) recorded two outs in the 11th.
Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 2
PHOENIX (AP) - Rookies Chris Young and Mark Reynolds homered for the second night in a row, and the NL West-leading Diamondbacks beat the crumbling Dodgers.
The Dodgers extended their losing streak to a season-worst seven games and were officially eliminated from the division race. Los Angeles is still in wild-card contention by a sliver.
Brandon Webb (17-10) earned his career-best 17th victory as Arizona won its fourth straight.
David Wells (8-9), pitching on three days' rest, gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings in his first loss in six starts for Los Angeles. In his last two outings, the 44-year-old left-hander has allowed 10 runs and 17 hits in 9 2-3 innings.
Webb blanked the Dodgers for six innings before giving up a two-run double to Tony Abreu in the seventh. The Diamondbacks' ace allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings to improve to 3-0 in his last four starts.
Cardinals 7, Astros 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Rick Ankiel homered for the first time in 17 games and Albert Pujols delivered a key pinch hit, leading St. Louis over Houston.
Ankiel got three hits, including his 10th home run. He had been in a 7-for-55 slump since a Sept. 7 report linking him to human growth hormone in 2004 - that came the morning after his two-homer, seven-RBI salvo against Pittsburgh.
Fill-in starter Brad Thompson (7-6) threw six sharp innings and Jason Isringhausen got his 30th save.
The Cardinals broke it open with five runs in the seventh, two on Pujols' single on two on Ankiel's homer off Woody Williams.
David Eckstein and Ludwick had RBI doubles in the fifth off Matt Albers (4-10) as last year's World Series champions won for only the third time in 17 games.
Giants 2, Reds 0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Pinch-hitter Ray Durham broke up a scoreless tie with a two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning as the Giants snapped a four-game losing streak.
Pedro Feliz started the go-ahead rally with a pinch-hit single off Bill Bray (3-3). Rich Aurilia followed with a double and Dan Ortmeier was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Gary Majewski came in and retired Omar Vizquel on a line drive to shortstop before Durham hit a broken-bat single to center.
Brad Hennessey (4-5) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Brian Wilson got three outs for his fifth save in five chances, closing out San Francisco's 10th shutout of the season.
Barry Bonds missed his seventh straight game with a sprained right toe. With only four games remaining in his final homestand with the Giants, manager Bruce Bochy wants to get his slugger back on the field so the San Francisco fans can see him a final time.

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