The Atlanta Braves keep finding ways to win.
On Saturday night, Brian Hunter and Sid Bream each hit two-run homers in the ninth inning to give the Braves a 6-5 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. On Sunday, it was Otis Nixon's chance to be the ninth-inning hero.Nixon hit a bases-loaded single to deep right field with none out in the ninth to lift the Braves past the Phillies, 4-3.
The Braves maintained their 61/2-game lead over Cincinnati in the National League West, a 6-1 winner over the New York Mets, despite winning for only the seventh time in 17 games.
"Usually I hit ground balls," said the speedy Nixon, who was in a 2-for-19 slump before the hit. "But this time I tried to drive it in the air."
Nixon's single - a one-hop fly off the right field fence - scored pinch-hitter Hunter, who opened the inning by drawing a walk off reliever Mike Hartley (5-6). Hunter took third and Mark Lemke second when Hartley threw wild to second on Lemke's sacrifice bunt. Greg Olson was walked intentionally before Nixon's game-winning hit.
Jeff Reardon (2-0), Atlanta's sixth pitcher, earned the victory despite giving up the tying run. The Phillies made it 3-3 in the ninth on a run-scoring single by Mickey Morandini.
Dodgers 7, Pirates 5
Eric Karros had a tie-breaking two-run double off reliever Danny Cox in a three-run seventh as Los Angeles stopped Pittsburgh's seven-game winning streak. The Pirates maintained a four-game lead over Montreal in the NL East.
The Dodgers won for just the second time in nine games on their road trip and the third time in their last 16 games. The Pirates had won 9 of 10 overall and 15 of their last 18 at home.
Danny Jackson took a 4-3 lead into the seventh, but left after Rafael Bournial walked and winner Tom Candiotti (10-12) bunted him up. Cox (3-3) replaced Jackson and didn't retire any of the four hitters he faced for his first loss since joining the Pirates last month.
Astros 3, Expos 1
At Olympic Stadium, Butch Henry gave up a run in 5 1-3 innings and hit a two-run single for Houston.
Henry (6-9) was relieved by Xavier Hernandez with one out and a man on first in the sixth after allowing three hits in the game. Doug Jones got the last three outs for his 31st save in 35 opportunities.
Spike Owen's career-high seventh homer in the second off Henry gave Montreal a 1-0 lead.
Reds 6, Mets 1
At Riverfront Stadium, Tim Pugh pitched six innings for his first major-league victory and Reggie Sanders drove in three runs with a homer and a double for Cincinnati.
Padres 3, Cubs 1
Fred McGriff drove in two runs, including one with his National League-leading 34th homer, as San Diego beat Chicago for a three-game sweep. It was the Padres' first sweep at Wrigley Field since May 31-June 2, 1982.
Cardinals 5, Giants 3
At Busch Memorial Stadium, Bob Tewksbury recorded his 15th victory, and Felix Jose drove in two runs with a homer and a double as St. Louis beat San Francisco. The Giants have lost 11 of their last 12 and 15 of their last 19. The Cardinals got back to the .500 mark with the victory (67-67).