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Rockies blanked by Astros

Astros manager Jimy Williams, right, heads to the mound to pull starting pitcher Wade Miller.
Astros manager Jimy Williams, right, heads to the mound to pull starting pitcher Wade Miller.
David Zalubowski, Associated Press

DENVER— The Houston Astros ended one of baseball's record runs.

Wade Miller and the Astros handed Colorado its first shutout at Coors Field since 1999, increasing their NL Central lead Thursday with a 6-0 victory.

The Rockies had scored in 361 consecutive home games since San Diego's Andy Ashby pitched a six-hitter on July 4, 1999. The previous record was 258 games by the Boston Braves from 1892-1896.

Miller, Octavio Dotel and Mike Gallo combined on a three-hitter. Jeff Bagwell homered and drove in three runs as the Astros won for the 11th time in 14 tries and moved a game ahead of the idle Chicago Cubs.

Miller (14-12) walked five and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings, improving to 7-2 in his last nine starts.

Jose Jimenez (2-9) couldn't overcome a rough first inning.

PHILLIES 5, MARLINS 4: At Philadelphia, in danger of blowing a must-win game, Philadelphia rallied against Dontrelle Willis and beat Florida behind Jim Thome's tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning.

The Phillies pulled within a half-game of the Marlins for the NL wild-card lead, taking two of three in the series. The teams meet three more times next week at Florida.

Philadelphia's victory also clinched the NL East for Atlanta, the Braves' 12th straight division title.

With Hurricane Isabel approaching, the start time was moved up from 7:05 p.m. to 1:05.

After Florida's Miguel Cabrera and Philadelphia's Placido Polanco homered, Thome put the Phillies ahead for good with his 43rd homer.

Thome tied the team record for homers by a lefty, set by Chuck Klein in 1929. The 43 homers are the most by a Philadelphia hitter since Mike Schmidt's 48 in 1980.

Rheal Cormier (7-0) pitched two shutout innings. Chad Fox (2-1) took the loss.

PADRES 7, GIANTS 3: At San Francisco, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a two-run double and San Diego avoided a four-game sweep by San Francisco with a win over a Giants lineup of all reserves.

The Giants clinched the NL West title Wednesday night, and manager Felipe Alou gave all of his regulars a day of rest following a fun-filled night of celebrating. That was fine with the Padres, who ended a six-game losing streak.

San Francisco had its four-game winning streak snapped — the last time the Giants lost also came when Sidney Ponson pitched.

Ponson (3-5) was tagged for a season-high 11 hits.

Jake Peavy (12-11) pitched 6 1-3 solid innings for the Padres.

PIRATES 7, REDS 0: At Pittsburgh, Kip Wells retired his first 17 batters and combined with Brian Meadows on a three-hitter, leading Pittsburgh over Cincinnati.

Wells (9-8) didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth, when Reds reliever Scott Randall (2-3) singled to right in his first major league at-bat.

Wells allowed two hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two.

The game was moved from 7:05 p.m. to 12:35 p.m. in anticipation of bad weather related to Hurricane Isabel.

EXPOS 1, METS 0: At New York, Javier Vazquez struck out 12, and Todd Zeile homered as the Montreal Expos defeated the New York Mets 1-0 Thursday night.

Vazquez (13-11) allowed three hits in seven innings, outpitching Steve Trachsel to help the Expos retain their slim mathematical chance at the NL wild card.

The Mets are stumbling to the finish of a brutal season — they've lost five straight games and 13 of 14.

Zeile, who helped New York reach the 2000 World Series, led off the fourth inning with a high drive down the left-field line on a 3-1 pitch — his fourth homer since joining the Expos on Aug. 20.

CARDINALS 13, BREWERS 0: At St. Louis, Edgar Renteria had four hits and five RBIs, and Woody Williams rebounded from his worst start of the year to combine on a three-hitter as the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Milwaukee Brewers 13-0 Thursday night.

The Cardinals won three of four against the Brewers but remained five games behind Houston, the NL Central leader, with eight games to go. The Cardinals host the Astros in a three-game series starting Friday night.

St. Louis finished the season series 11-3 against Milwaukee.

Williams (16-9) set a career best for victories, topping his 15-win season in 2001 for the Padres and Cardinals. He allowed three hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked two. Steve Kline and Josh Pearce each worked a hitless inning of relief.

DODGERS 2, DIAMONDBACKS 0: At Los Angeles, Wilson Alvarez and Eric Gagne combined on a seven-hitter, and Robin Ventura homered as Los Angeles defeated Arizona.

The Dodgers are 2 1/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race. Los Angeles plays seven of its final 11 games against NL West champion San Francisco, beginning Friday at home.

Gagne got the first two-inning save of his career, although he nearly blew it in the eighth when the tying run was thrown out at the plate. It was his 52nd consecutive save this season, and his major league-record 60th in a row dating to Aug. 28, 2002.