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Howard's blast beats the Braves

The Phillies' Ryan Howard, right, hit what proved to be the game-winning home run.
The Phillies' Ryan Howard, right, hit what proved to be the game-winning home run.
John Bazemore, Associated Press

ATLANTA — Ryan Howard led off the ninth inning with a homer and Philadelphia won its fourth straight game, beating Atlanta 3-2 on Friday night.

Chase Utley hit a two-run shot for the Phillies and Shane Victorino put on a dazzling defensive show in center field, chasing down one long drive after another to keep the Braves from extending their winning streak to a season-best six games.

Howard won it with his 28th homer off Rafael Soriano (1-4) to break a 2-all tie. Philadelphia extended its lead over Atlanta in the NL East to six games.

Joe Blanton surrendered one earned run in seven innings, Ryan Madson (4-4) won it with a scoreless eighth and Brad Lidge escaped trouble in the ninth for his 22nd save in 29 chances.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.

CARDINALS 9, PADRES 2: At St. Louis, Adam Wainwright joined Boston's Josh Beckett as the only 14-game winners in the majors and contributed his fifth career homer to a 15-hit attack. The Cardinals battered rookie Mat Latos (4-2) for seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. The 21-year-old had won his previous four starts. Matt Holliday had three hits and three RBIs and his two-run single in the fifth was a key blow for the NL Central leaders, who have won six of seven and have beaten the Padres seven straight at home. Wainwright (14-7) scattered eight hits in seven innings, his 10th straight start allowing two or fewer earned runs. Wainwright worked six or more innings for the 23rd consecutive start, the longest streak in the majors, and hasn't walked a batter in 23 2-3 innings over four starts dating to July 28. His second homer of the season came leading off the third for the Cardinals' first run.

MARLINS 6, ROCKIES 5: At Miami, Josh Johnson allowed one hit and had a career-high 11 strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings for Florida. The Marlins won for the seventh time in eight games and climbed within two games of the Rockies, who lead the NL wild card. Johnson (12-2) had not given up a hit until Garrett Atkins hit his eighth homer with two outs in the seventh. He allowed three walks and one run. Chris Iannetta hit a three-run homer in the ninth before Leo Nunez retired pinch-hitter Todd Helton on a fly ball for his 13th save in 17 chances. Dan Uggla hit his 21st homer for the Marlins, who had 10 hits, extending their streak of consecutive games with at least 10 to a club-record 11 games. Nick Johnson contributed an RBI double and a sacrifice fly. Colorado's Jason Hammel (7-7) lasted four innings, allowing three runs.

BREWERS 11, ASTROS 2: At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun homered in each of the first two innings and Felipe Lopez hit a three-run shot in an eight-run first off Houston's Wandy Rodriguez. Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (11-9) struck out seven over six innings and tied a career-high with three RBIs. Rodriguez (11-7) allowed 10 hits and a career-high 10 earned runs and walked five in four innings. He had won his previous six decisions. Staked a 10-0 lead, Gallardo (11-9) handcuffed the Astros, losers of 14 of 20, scattering two runs, three hits and three walks to give Milwaukee its second straight win. Braun's two-run homer in the first were the most runs Rodriguez had allowed in a start since June 26. Braun hit his 25th of the season, and third in two days, leading off the second.

CUBS 17, PIRATES 2: At Chicago, Derrek Lee matched a career high with seven RBIs and capped a 10-run second inning with a two-run double as Chicago snapped its five-game losing streak. The Cubs led 14-0 after two innings. The last time they scored so many runs so quickly was June 7, 1906 — 10 years before they moved into Wrigley Field. Lee had a three-run double, a two-run double, an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk, all in four innings before being removed with the score 17-2. He had seven RBIs on July 2 against Milwaukee. The Cubs sent 15 batters to the plate and every starter scored at least once in their first double-digit inning since 2004. The Pirates have lost three straight and 11 of 12. Charlie Morton (2-6) gave up 10 runs in one-plus inning before being relieved by Chris Bootcheck, who allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings. Randy Wells (9-5) held the Pirates to two runs in six innings and had an RBI single in the big inning and added a double.

METS 3, GIANTS 0: At New York, BobbyParnell pitched six crisp innings in his second major league start for New York. Parnell (3-4) limited the Giants to three singles and struck out seven, including four straight overlapping his final two innings. The right-hander recorded just seven outs in his first start, a 3-1 loss at San Diego last Saturday. AngelPagan connected against BarryZito (8-11) for NewYork's first leadoff homer of the season. JeffFrancoeur added a two-out RBI double in the fourth and GarySheffield tacked on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. New York bounced back from a miserable 2-5 trip with its 10th shutout of the season. FranciscoRodriguez pitched a perfect ninth to finish the four-hitter and record his 26th save in 31 opportunities. Zito allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, ending a four-start unbeaten streak.

NATIONALS 2, REDS 0: At Cincinnati, RafaelBelliard and WilNieves hit solo home runs to back GarrettMock's seven solid innings and Washington snapped a three-game losing streak. Mock (2-4), making his sixth start since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on July 16, retired 10 consecutive batters in one stretch on the way to his second win in his last two starts. He allowed six hits with four walks and six strikeouts. JorgeSosa,SeanBurnett and JasonBergmann combined to pitch scoreless seventh and eighth innings and MikeMacDougal threw a perfect ninth for his 12th save, completing Washington's third shutout of the season. The Reds have been shut out four times. The Nationals put at least one runner on base in all seven innings against AaronHarang (6-14), who leads the major leagues in losses. He allowed six hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, DODGERS 1: At Phoenix, Dan Haren had his best outing in a month and Arizona overcame a three-hit night by Manny Ramirez to beat the Dodgers. Ramirez singled twice and doubled to improve to 13 for 24 in his career against Haren, but the rest of the Dodgers managed just three hits off the Arizona ace, including Matt Kemp's home run in the fifth. Haren (12-7) helped himself with an RBI single in Arizona's four-run second inning off Clayton Kershaw. After giving up 10 runs in his last two starts and 17 in his previous four, Haren held Los Angeles to a run on six hits in eighth innings, striking out eight, walking two and hitting a batter.