The Associated Press
CHICAGO - Wade Miller outpitched Kerry Wood and Jeff Kent hit a two-run double Monday night as the Houston Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1.
Craig Biggio homered for the Astros, who maintained their two-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central after the Cardinals beat the Pirates 6-4.
The third-place Cubs fell 3 1/2 back.
Miller (9-10) gave up five hits and a run in six innings, striking out nine. Octavio Dotel pitched two scoreless innings, and Billy Wagner worked the ninth for his 34th save in 37 chances.
Wood (11-9) allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings. He also struck out nine and reached 1,000 career strikeouts faster than any major league pitcher, achieving the milestone in his 134th game.
Kent, 10-for-19 (.526) against Wood entering the game, broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. After singles by Geoff Blum and Jeff Bagwell, he drove a ball over Doug Glanville's head in center.
Sammy Sosa doubled in the sixth, moved to third on a single by Aramis Ramirez and scored on a single by Eric Karros.
Dodgers 9, Marlins 3
MIAMI - Dontrelle Willis retired only six batters and gave up seven runs, including a three-run homer by Adrian Beltre that helped Los Angeles beat Florida.
In a rare show of offense by the Dodgers, their first eight hitters reached base in the third inning as they scored six times. Nine runs matches their best since April 20.
Willis (11-3) lasted only two-plus innings, matching his shortest outing. The rookie's ERA rose from 2.56 to 3.10, and in five starts since the All-Star break it's 6.48.
The Marlins, who have lost two in a row for only the second time since June 17-18, fell a half-game behind idle NL wild-card leader Philadelphia.
The Dodgers are three games back.
Cardinals 6, Pirates 4
PITTSBURGH - Albert Pujols and Bo Hart homered in the first and St. Louis, relying again on solo homers and Jim Edmonds' exceptional arm, held on to beat Pittsburgh.
Edmonds twice threw out runners at the plate, including Abraham Nunez in the eighth with the potential go-ahead run on base. The Pirates had four consecutive singles in the eighth, yet didn't score as relievers Pedro Borbon and Cal Eldred each retired a batter with the bases loaded.
The Cardinals won despite being outhit 17-10.
Miguel Cairo and Scott Rolen also homered for the Cardinals, who hit four solo homers in the first four innings off Kip Wells (5-6) a night after hitting three solo shots in beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2. Pujols' homer was his 32nd and his ninth in 21 career games at PNC Park. He extended his hitting streak to 25 games.
Expos 3, Rockies 1
MONTREAL - Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer and La Salle High grad Zach Day pitched six strong innings to lead Montreal over Colorado.
Montreal, which returned from a 1-5 road trip, improved to 27-16 at Olympic Stadium. Colorado lost its third in a row, falling to 19-42 on the road to begin a seven-game trip.
Guerrero followed Jose Vidro's one-out double in the third off Jason Jennings (10-10) with a drive over the center-field wall for his 14th homer.
Day (6-4) struck out a career-high seven while allowing five hits, including Chris Stynes' RBI double in the third.
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