The San Francisco Giants are off to their best start in 24 years. The Atlanta Braves are off to their best start ever.

Fred McGriff homered twice and Michael Tucker had five hits as the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-3 Wednesday night. Atlanta finished April with a 19-6 record, the most victories ever by a major league team in the opening month of the season."That's because we've played more games in April. That's why nobody's done better," manager Bobby Cox said. "But for every game you lose in April, you've got to win two later on to make it up. . . . These games are just as important as the ones in September."

Jeff Kent hit a grand slam and Mark Gardner pitched a three-hitter as San Francisco beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1. The Giants went 17-7 in April, their best opening-month record since going 18-6 in 1973.

Braves 12, Reds 3

At Cincinnati, McGriff and Tucker each drove in five runs for Atlanta. McGriff broke out of a slump with a run-scoring single, a three-run homer and a solo shot. Tucker added a three-run homer as the Braves handed the Reds their 12th loss in 14 games. Denny Neagle (4-0) allowed nine hits and three runs over seven innings.

Giants 6, Pirates 1

Kent hit his third career grand slam in the first inning off Jon Lieber. Gardner (2-1) struck out 11, walked none and retired the last 15 batters. The Giants' 8-2 road record is best in the NL and a big contrast from last year, when they lost 50 of 80 away games.

Expos 8, Astros 6

At Montreal, David Segui homered and drove in four runs, and Mark Grudzielanek had four singles to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. The Expos overcame a 4-1 deficit to snap a three-game losing streak. Carlos Perez (4-1) got the win despite allowing five runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Mets 6, Padres 2

At New York, San Diego lost its eighth straight while the Mets won their fourth in a row. Carlos Baerga scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly to the second baseman. Butch Huskey hit a fly ball to short right with the bases loaded in the sixth and the game tied 2-2. Second baseman Quilvio Veras made the catch just in front of right fielder Tony Gwynn, but had no play on Baerga.

Cardinals 6, Marlins 2

At St. Louis, Alan Benes struck out nine in 6 2-3 innings and Willie McGee had a two-run double as the Cardinals ended Florida's five-game winning streak. The Cardinals won their fourth in a row, making them 11-6 since an 0-6 start. Benes (3-2) gave up eight hits and two runs before leaving in the seventh. Moises Alou's doubled home a run in the fifth for his 30th RBI, tying the Marlins' record for RBIs in a month.

Rockies 11, Cubs 5

At Denver, Larry Walker tied an NL record with his 11th home run in April, and Andres Galarraga hit his eighth career grand slam. Vinny Castilla also homered for the Rockies, who led 11-0 after six innings. Walker tied the league mark for April homers shared by Willie Stargell, Mike Schmidt, Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds. The major league mark is 13 by Ken Griffey Jr. this year.

Dodgers 7, Phillies 5

At Philadelphia, Todd Zeile, Greg Gagne and Mike Piazza each drove in two runs as the Dodgers beat the Phillies. Hideo Nomo (3-2) allowed six hits in 6 1-3 innings, and Todd Worrell got the last out for his seventh save.