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Reds close gap on Cards in NL Central

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Reds 7, Expos 4

A few weeks after seemingly surrendering the NL Central title to St. Louis, the Cincinnati Reds have fought their way back into the race.

The Reds have shaved six games off St. Louis' lead in the past 3 1/2 weeks, moving within four games Sunday after beating the Expos 7-4 to complete a three-game sweep at Montreal.

"It was a big weekend for our whole team," said Eddie Taubensee, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI doubles. "It's starting to get exciting for us. The team is starting to gel together, and we're having a lot of fun."

The Reds, who were eight games behind when they traded Denny Neagle to the Yankees on July 12, are the closest they've been to first place since June 13, when they trailed by 3 1/2 games.

Cincinnati has been helped by a recent slump by the Cardinals, who have struggled with Mark McGwire on the disabled list.

St. Louis lost its season-high fourth straight game Sunday, 4-2 to the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, and is 7-13 since McGwire went on the DL.

Taubensee, who had 11 hits in the series, hit a run-scoring double off Dustin Hermanson (8-9) in the second inning and another in the fourth. Dmitri Young homered for Cincinnati.

METS 4, CARDINALS 2:Bubba Trammell homered in his first at-bat for New York, just as Mike Bordick did a day earlier, and Bobby J. Jones (5-5) pitched a four-hitter for his first complete game in three years as the Mets won their sixth straight.

BRAVES 6, ASTROS 3: Tom Glavine became the third active pitcher to win 200 games, pitching into the ninth inning for host Atlanta.

Glavine (13-5), who won his sixth straight game, allowed three runs and seven hits in eight-plus innings to join teammate Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens with 200 wins. He is the 96th pitcher overall to reach 200.

PHILLIES 3, DODGERS 2:Pat Burrell's bases-loaded walk off Chan Ho Park (11-8) broke a tie, and Randy Wolf (9-5) allowed four hits in seven innings.

PADRES 9, PIRATES 8: Phil Nevin homered on the first pitch from Marc Wilkins (2-1) in the ninth inning, and San Diego rallied from five runs down at Pittsburgh.

The Padres trailed 8-3 and had been outscored 34-10 in the series until Ruben Rivera's second career grand slam highlighted a five-run seventh inning.

BREWERS 3, ROCKIES 2:Jeff D'Amico closed a magnificent month by hitting his first major league home run and allowing seven hits over eight innings as Milwaukee beat visiting Colorado.

CUBS 3, GIANTS 1:Sammy Sosa hit his 32nd homer, and Jon Lieber (10-5) pitched a four-hitter to win his fifth straight decision for host Chicago.

MARLINS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Kevin Millar's RBI double — his fourth hit — capped a two-run rally in the eighth inning after Randy Johnson left the game, and Florida won at home.