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McGriff dazzles former team with 2 dingers

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ATLANTA — Fred McGriff gave a tantalizing glimpse of his power, homering twice and driving in four runs Sunday to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 9-1 rout of the Atlanta Braves.

McGriff still hasn't decided whether he will accept a proposed trade from the last-place Devil Rays to the first-place Chicago Cubs, who want his bat for their pursuit of the NL Central title.

The 37-year-old McGriff has 18 homers this season and 435 in his career, 27th on the all-time list and fifth among active players.

The Devil Rays had 13 hits against Odalis Perez (6-7) and two relievers. Brent Abernathy went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. John Flaherty had two RBIs.

METS 6, BLUE JAYS 2: At New York, Mike Piazza went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, and Rick Reed allowed two runs in seven innings as New York won for the fourth time in six games.

Piazza had an RBI double and a two-run homer, and Joe McEwing was 3-for-5 with a two-run double for the Mets, who came in with a major league-low 347 runs but had their best offensive output since an 8-7 win over the New York Yankees on June 17.

Reed (8-4), who missed his previous turn in the rotation because of neck spasms and had to sit out the All-Star game, scattered six hits, struck out eight and walked none for his first win in five starts.

TIGERS 8, REDS 5: At Cincinnati, Bobby Higginson hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, and Robert Fick homered twice as Detroit rallied to beat Cincinnati.

The major leagues' worst home team blew a five-run lead and a chance to get its first save at Cinergy Field since May 1.

Chris Nichting (0-3) took a 5-3 lead into the ninth, then gave up an RBI single to Roger Cedeno, Higginson's 11th homer and a solo shot by Fick.

It marked the fifth time a Reds reliever has blown a save at Cinergy since May 1.

RED SOX 8, EXPOS 5: At Montreal, Chris Stynes had his first two-homer game and drove in a career-high four runs, leading Boston over Montreal before a mostly pro-Red Sox crowd of 32,965.

Many New Englanders drove to the game, creating the largest non-opening day crowd in Olympic Stadium since 34,518 for a game against Houston on July 19, 1997. Montreal is about a 4 1/2-hour drive from Boston.

WHITE SOX 3, BREWERS 2: At Milwaukee, Rocky Biddle won for the first time in 15 starts since April 9, and Sandy Alomar hit a go-ahead home run as Chicago won its third straight.

Biddle (2-5) was 0-5 in his previous 14 starts. He allowed two runs, three hits and four walks in six innings. Keith Foulke pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save.

Alomar homered in the fifth off Ben Sheets (10-6), breaking a 2-all tie. Sheets, Milwaukee's only All-Star, lost consecutive starts for just the third time this season.

CARDINALS 5, TWINS 1: At St. Louis, Dustin Hermanson (7-7) pitched scoreless ball into the eighth inning to win for the first time in nearly a month as St. Louis beat Minnesota.

The defending NL Central champions got back to .500 and handed the AL Central-leading Twins only their fourth loss in 19 games.

Minnesota (57-34) missed a chance to go 25 games above .500 for the first time since finishing the 1991 season 95-67.

The Cardinals scored all their runs in the fifth inning. Ray Lankford had a two-run single, and Placido Polanco, Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols also drove in runs.

CUBS 2, ROYALS 1: At Chicago, Jon Lieber won his sixth straight start as Chicago handed Kansas City its their major league-record 21st consecutive one-run loss on the road.

The Pittsburgh Pirates also lost 20 straight one-run games away from home spanning two seasons from 1985-86, a mark the Royals tied by losing 1-0 Friday night in Pittsburgh.

Lieber (12-4), in his first appearance since giving up back-to-back homers in the All-Star game Tuesday, allowed one run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. Tom Gordon got his 16th save.

ASTROS 5, INDIANS 3: At Houston, Moises Alou homered and extended his hitting streak to 20 games as Houston won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Alou's hitting streak is the second-longest in the National League this year behind teammate Lance Berkman, who had his 21-game streak snapped Friday.

The Astros remained three games behind the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.

The Indians, who have lost 10 of 16, are five games back of Minnesota in the AL Central.

ATHLETICS 6, ROCKIES 3: At Oakland, Calif., Jason Giambi homered and singled in the go-ahead run to lift Oakland to its sixth win in seven games.

With the score tied at 1 in the sixth inning, Giambi's single off Brian Bohanon (4-5) scored Johnny Damon, who had doubled.

Cory Lidle (3-4) went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Luis Vizcaino, recalled from the minors earlier in the day, struck out two for his first career save.

Bohanon, making his first start since going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, allowed four runs and seven hits through six innings.

MARLINS 7, ORIOLES 1: At Miami, Kevin Millar, Charles Johnson and Mike Lowell homered as Florida won for the fourth time in five games.

Millar extended his hitting streak to seven games, Johnson hit his 17th homer of the season and Lowell capped a five-run seventh inning with a two-run shot.

Matt Clement (5-6) gave up one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in three starts.

The Orioles have lost eight of 10.

Cal Ripken Jr. went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 15 games — his longest in nine years.


DODGERS 4, PIRATES 2: At Pittsburgh, Kevin Brown, bothered by a neck injury for several months, allowed one run in five innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Dodgers showed no aftereffects of a 15-inning game Saturday in Oakland and an overnight flight to Pittsburgh, taking a 2-0 lead in the first on Eric Karros' two-run single.

Shawn Green had a double, solo home run and two RBIs off Jason Schmidt (5-5) as five Los Angeles pitchers combined to shut down the Pirates.