Wednesday, August 25, 2004

NL: Seven-run first propels Marlins

The Associated Press

MIAMI - The Florida Marlins started a big series against the San Francisco Giants with a big inning.

Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to cap a seven-run first inning, and Mike Lowell drove in five runs to help Florida win 9-1 Tuesday night.

With the win, the defending World Series champions opened a three-game set touted as their most important so far this season. Florida won for the eighth time in 11 games and pulled within four games of the Giants, who began the night tied with Chicago for the NL wild-card lead.

A.J. Burnett (4-6) allowed just two hits - both singles by Edgardo Alfonzo - and one run in seven innings. Throwing at up to 100 mph, he walked four and hit a batter, and the Giants' only run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

Padres 3, Mets 1

NEW YORK - David Wells continued his road dominance Tuesday night, taking a shutout into the ninth inning and pitching the Padres past New York.

The only hits against the 41-year-old left-hander until the ninth were a pair of first-inning singles to Jeff Keppinger and Gerald Williams. It was the fifth straight road victory for Wells, whose only loss away from home came April 19 at San Francisco. Wells (8-7) struck out four and walked none and came within one out of his 13th career shutout.

Dodgers 10, Expos 2

MONTREAL - Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam to become the first player to reach 40 home runs this year, and Alex Cora homered and had five RBI to lead Los Angeles over Montreal.

Beltre connected off Rocky Biddle (4-7) for his fourth career slam, his second this season, and Cora hit a three-run drive against Francis Beltran.

Los Angeles now has a five-game lead over second-place San Francisco in the NL West. The Dodgers are 1-1 on their season-high 13-game trip. The Dodgers have won six of their last nine road games and 17 of 23.

Braves 6, Rockies 5

ATLANTA - Rafael Furcal went 4-for-4, including a two-run triple in Atlanta's four-run sixth inning, and Eli Marrero drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh to lead the Braves to victory over Colorado.

Marrero and Julio Franco each went 3-for-4 for the Braves, who used 14 hits to rally past the Rockies after falling behind by four runs. Atlanta remained 7 1/2 games ahead of Florida in the NL East.

Astros 4, Phillies 2

HOUSTON - Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb hit RBI singles in the eighth inning and the Houston Astros used a rare relief appearance by Roy Oswalt to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies.

Oswalt (14-9) pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two. The Astros won for the seventh time in nine games.Pirates 3, Diamondbacks 1

PITTSBURGH - Oliver Perez pitched eight sharp innings, Daryle Ward homered and the Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak. Perez (9-6), who entered the game leading the National League with an average of 11 strikeouts per nine innings, fanned nine.

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