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Braves are closing in on another title

Montreal's Edwards Guzman convinces umpire he was safe against Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez.
Montreal's Edwards Guzman convinces umpire he was safe against Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez.
Paul Chiasson, Associated Press

MONTREAL — Robert Fick hit his first home run in six weeks as the Atlanta Braves reduced their magic number for clinching a record 12th straight division title to three with a 10-6 victory over the Montreal Expos on Monday night.

Horacio Ramirez (11-4) won his third straight decision for Atlanta, which got its major league-leading 94th win and moved 10 games ahead of idle Florida in the NL East. Ramirez allowed seven hits and two runs in seven innings.

Fick hit a three-run homer off Livan Hernandez (15-9) in the second for his first home run since July 27, when he connected twice against the Expos in a 13-10 loss in Montreal.

CUBS 4, METS 1: At Chicago, Matt Clement matched his career high with his 13th victory as Chicago gained ground in the NL Central race. Randall Simon had two RBIs for Chicago, which pulled within 1 1/2 games of first-place Houston, which was idle. The Mets lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Clement (13-11) has been bothered by a strained groin since he got hit in the calf during his Sept. 3 start. New York managed just three infield singles against him in seven innings, and the only run he allowed was unearned.

CARDINALS 11, BREWERS 2: At St. Louis, Brett Tomko allowed six hits over eight innings and drove in three runs as St. Louis snapped a four-game losing streak. Tomko (13-8) went 2-for-4, including a two-run single in the second and an RBI single in the third, as the Cardinals moved within five games of idle Houston in the NL Central. Albert Pujols hit his 42nd home run, leaving him tied with Barry Bonds for the NL lead. Jim Edmonds also homered for the Cardinals, who scored seven times in the first three innings off Wes Obermueller (0-5).

PIRATES 6, REDS 3: At Pittsburgh, Matt Stairs hit a three-run homer in support of Ryan Vogelsong's first major league victory as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati. Vogelsong (1-1) scattered three hits over five innings in his third start of the season. The right-hander was 0-6 in 22 previous major league appearances, including four starts. Julian Tavarez pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances as the Pirates won for the fifth time in eight games. Todd Van Poppel (0-1) allowed five runs — all with two outs — in six innings.