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Mets help Braves widen lead in NL East

SHARE Mets help Braves widen lead in NL East

The New York Mets started the weekend by strengthening Philadelphia's bullpen. They ended it by beating the Phillies' relievers and helping the Atlanta Braves widen their lead in the NL East.

Mike Piazza gave the Mets their second straight game-winning homer in the ninth inning Sunday as New York defeated Philadelphia 6-5. The Mets won the final three games of the four-game series.

The visiting Phillies, who acquired relievers Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook from the Mets after Friday night's game, lost when Rheal Cormier came out of the bullpen to serve up Piazza's blast with one out in the ninth.

"I haven't pitched in nine days and I wasn't real sharp, especially to face a guy like Piazza," said Cormier (5-4).

Philadelphia, in second place, fell a season-high three games behind the Braves, who beat Montreal 8-1. The Mets, the defending NL champions, are still in fourth place, 11 1/2 games out.

BRAVES 8, EXPOS 1: John Burkett matched his career high with 11 strikeouts and added an RBI single to lead visiting Atlanta past Montreal.

Burkett (8-8), who retired the first 13 batters, allowed one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings.

The Braves' win was tempered by the loss of right fielder Brian Jordan, who injured his left knee and ankle while trying to beat out an infield hit in the first.

REDS 8, MARLINS 4: Todd Walker's two-run double capped a five-run rally for Cincinnati.

The Reds got their first home sweep of the season by taking all three from the Marlins, who have lost 12 of 16 road games. Florida took a 4-0 lead in the fifth, but A.J. Burnett (8-6) wasted a chance to get his fourth straight win.

Chris Reitsma (5-10) got the victory by pitching a perfect sixth.

PIRATES 4, ASTROS 1: Todd Ritchie (7-10) allowed one unearned run in eight-plus innings to lead Pittsburgh over visiting Houston. Kevin Young drove in three runs for Pittsburgh, hitting an RBI double off Wade Miller (12-6) and a two-run homer off Ron Villone.

PADRES 12, BREWERS 5: Ryan Klesko and Bubba Trammell homered, and Alex Arias hit a bases-loaded double as San Diego won another series from Milwaukee.

The Padres, who took two of three this weekend, have never lost a series to the Brewers. San Diego is 9-0-1 in series since Milwaukee joined the National League in 1998, going 23-9 overall. Kevin Jarvis (8-8) won despite allowing 10 hits in five-plus innings.

GIANTS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Marvin Benard hit a two-run pinch homer in the ninth inning off Byung-Hyun Kim (3-3) as San Francisco rallied to sweep Arizona in a four-game series.

Shawn Estes (8-5) scattered four hits over eight innings. Randy Johnson scattered seven hits and struck out 12 over eight innings. He struck out every Giants starter except Shawon Dunston.

ROCKIES 3, DODGERS 2: Alex Ochoa singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak. The loss was just the third in 16 games for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Arizona.

Colorado's Jay Powell (3-2) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings. Jose Jimenez earned his 14th save by striking out Marquis Grissom and Adrian Beltre to end the game. Matt Herges (8-8) took the loss.

CUBS 7, CARDINALS 5: Fred McGriff went 1-for-3 in his Cubs debut and Roberto Machado hit a two-run homer for Chicago. McGriff, who finally agreed to join the Cubs on Friday after waiving his no-trade clause with Tampa Bay, had a walk, RBI single, strikeout and liner to center.