CHICAGO — Pinch-hitter Tom Goodwin delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single in the seventh as the Chicago Cubs blew a big lead and then rallied Friday to beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6.
Chicago, which began the day one game behind first-place Houston in the NL Central, squandered a 5-1 lead when the Reds scored five times in the seventh against Mark Guthrie and Antonio Alfonseca (2-1).
But after a 49-minute rain delay with one out in the bottom half, the Cubs came out energized and staged one of their most crucial rallies of the season.
Scott Randall (2-2) walked Randall Simon with two outs and gave up an infield hit to Aramis Ramirez. Alex Gonzalez then singled to left, but Simon was held at third, leaving the bases loaded.
John Riedling relieved, and Goodwin hit a 1-2 pitch up the middle that went off D'Angelo Jimenez's glove at second for a two-run single.
EXPOS 7, METS 4: At Montreal, Michael Barrett hit a two-run homer in his first game in nearly seven weeks, and Vladimir Guerrero had a three-run double to lead Montreal over the Mets 7-4. Montreal won its 10th in a row at Olympic Stadium and third straight overall. The last-place Mets have dropped a season-high eight consecutive games.
Barrett, hitting just .207 when he was sidelined by a hip injury on July 27, hit his 10th homer of the season off Al Leiter (14-8) following Joe Vitiello's one-out double in the sixth.
MARLINS 5, BRAVES 4: At Miami, the Florida Marlins overcame an injury to Brad Penny and an eighth-inning deficit to build on their lead in the NL wild-card race. Juan Pierre singled home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning Friday night, leading the Marlins over Atlanta. Florida increased wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games over Philadelphia, which lost 8-4 at Pittsburgh. Penny gave up three runs before departing in the first inning with a hyperextended pitching elbow. Florida scored twice in the eighth against Jaret Wright to tie the game.
With their 82nd victory, the Marlins are assured of the second winning season in the 11-year history of the franchise. The only other time they finished above .500 was in 1997, when they won the World Series.
The Marlins won in their final at-bat for the 18th time. They've won 12 of their past 14 games to climb a season-best 17 above .500.
PIRATES 8, PHILLIES 4: At Pittsburgh, Reggie Sanders hit a three-run homer during a three-hit night and Pittsburgh stalled Philadelphia's pursuit of the NL wild card. Jose Hernandez stopped an 0-for-26 September skid with a two-run, pinch-hit single, and Abraham Nunez added a solo shot to support Kip Wells' fourth-straight strong start. The Pirates won for only the fourth time in 11 games. Jim Thome became only the fifth player in Phillies' history and the first since Mike Schmidt in 1983 to hit 40 homers in a season, but the Phillies dropped their third in five games.
ASTROS 14, CARDINALS 5: At Houston, Jeff Bagwell homered, Richard Hidalgo had four hits and pitcher Wade Miller drove in a career-high four runs as the Houston Astros routed the St. Louis Cardinals 14-5 in the opener of a big three-game series Friday night.
The Astros roughed up Woody Williams and finished with 19 hits, remaining a game ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. St. Louis dropped 3 1/2 off the pace.
Miller allowed two runs and two hits in six innings. He also went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and boosted his RBI total for the year to six.
He had an RBI double in the second, his grounder scored a run in the third and he added a two-run double in a five-run fourth inning. He's hitting .166 this season.
Bagwell started the fourth with his 34th homer off Williams (15-9). Adam Everett had an RBI double and Geoff Blum added an RBI single in the inning, giving the Astros an 11-0 lead.
Miller (13-12) didn't allow a hit until Albert Pujols doubled in the fourth, and he didn't give up a run until Mike Matheny's seventh homer in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Bo Hart's sacrifice fly got the second run home in the sixth.
Miller won for the eighth time in his last 11 decisions. He has won four straight against the Cardinals and has an 8-3 career record against them. The right-hander walked four and struck out five.
Hidalgo went 4-for-5, equaling his career high for hits accomplished six times, most recently July 18 against Cincinnati. Hidalgo had two doubles, a triple and a single. Everett tied his career high with three hits.
St. Louis' So Taguchi hit a two-run homer, the first of his career, off Rick White in the seventh inning. Kerry Robinson had an RBI triple in the eighth.
Williams has lost six of his last seven decisions. He snapped a career-high five-game losing streak Saturday in a 13-6 victory over Cincinnati, but the Astros jumped on him early.
Williams walked Craig Biggio and hit Blum with a pitch to start the game. Jeff Kent's high-hopper to shortstop Edgar Renteria scored a run, and a three-run second inning put Williams in a deep hole.
Hidalgo led off with a double and, after Brad Ausmus popped out, the Astros scored on three consecutive hits — doubles by Everett and Miller and a single by Biggio.
Hidalgo tripled in the third and scored on third baseman Scott Rolen's error on a dribbler by Brad Ausmus. He went to third on Everett's second straight double and scored when Renteria's throw to the plate was late for a 6-0 lead.
Williams entered 8-2 lifetime against the Astros, but he didn't get through the fourth. He pitched 3 2-3 innings, allowing nine runs — eight earned — and eight hits. He also walked three in his shortest outing of the season.
DODGERS 6, PADRES 0: At Los Angeles, Wilson Alvarez threw a four-hitter for his first shutout in six years, and Adrian Beltre hit a pair of solo homers as Los Angeles beat San Diego. Shawn Green added a solo shot for the Dodgers, who remained 3 1/2 games behind Florida, the NL wild-card leader. Beltre homered off Kevin Jarvis in the second inning and Brandon Villafuerte in the eighth, giving him 20 this season. Green connected off Jarvis in the first inning.
GIANTS 8, BREWERS 2: At San Francisco, Jason Schmidt struck out 12 in his 15th win, and San Francisco moved a game closer to clinching its division by beating Milwaukee. Marquis Grissom drove in three runs for the Giants, whose magic number to win the NL West is six. Any combination of Giants wins and Dodgers losses that equal six would do it. Los Angeles beat San Diego 6-0 Friday.
ROCKIES 8, DIAMONDBACKS 2: At Phoenix, Preston Wilson homered twice and had five RBIs as Colorado beat Arizona. Wilson raised his major league-leading RBI total to 134 with a two-run double in the ninth. Alex Cintron hit his 12th homer for the Diamondbacks, who fell 7 1/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race.