Phils use brooms on retreating Braves
By: By The Associated Press
With one weekend sweep in Atlanta, the Philadelphia Phillies emerged as the team to beat in the NL East. Ryan Howard drove in two runs in the ninth inning with his third double of the game and the streaking Phillies beat Atlanta 6-3 on Sunday to complete the sweep. The Phillies moved 31/2 games ahead of Florida. The Braves are now 61/2 off the lead and the Mets, who were swept in a four-game series in San Diego, trail by 71/2. Howard finished 3-for-5 with four RBI and the first three-double game of his career. The Phillies have won four straight and 12 of 14. The Phillies boosted their road record to 18-13, best in the National League, and have won 15 of their last 19 overall. Before this stretch, the Phillies (39-26) were only two games above .500. The Phillies outscored the Braves 8-1 after the seventh inning in the series. In other NL games, it was: Chicago 3, Los Angeles 1; Florida 9, Cincinnati 2; San Diego 8, New York 6; St. Louis 5, Houston 4; Pittsburgh 6, Arizona 4; San Francisco 6, Washington 3; and Milwaukee 3, Colorado 2. Cubs 3, Dodgers 1 At Los Angeles, Jason Marquis took a two-hitter into the seventh inning and the Cubs extended Brad Penny’s winless streak to seven starts, salvaging a split of the four-game series with the Dodgers. Marquis (4-3) allowed an unearned run and three hits over 61/3 innings, walked one and struck out two in his second-longest outing of the season. Mark DeRosa was 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, helping the Cubs finish their road trip 4-3 and avoid their first three-game losing streak. Kerry Wood pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 18th save in 22 attempts. Brad Penny took the loss for the Dodgers. Cardinals 5, Astros 4 At Houston, Brendan Ryan hit a two-run single in the seventh inning to cap a St. Louis comeback fueled by two Houston errors. Kyle Lohse (7-2) gave up a three-run homer to Lance Berkman, but otherwise pitched six strong innings to beat the Astros for the third time this season. Marlins 9, Reds 2 At Miami, Hanley Ramirez homered twice and Ryan Tucker pitched five effective innings to win his major league debut, leading Florida past Cincinnati. Ken Griffey Jr. remained one home run shy of becoming the sixth player to reach 600. He went 0-for-1 with two walks before being replaced in the seventh. Ramirez hit a pair of two-run shots off Aaron Harang (2-9), giving him five homers in his last five games. Padres 8, Mets 6 At San Diego, Pinch-hitter Tony Clark connected for a go-ahead, three-run homer off Billy Wagner with two outs in the eighth inning to give San Diego a four-game sweep of New York. Wagner relieved Duaner Sanchez with two outs and runners on first and second. The left-hander gave up an RBI single to Jody Gerut that cut New York’s lead to 6-5. Clark then hit a full-count fastball over the center-field wall to extend the Padres’ season-high winning streak to five games. Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 4 At Pittsburgh, Jason Bay’s two-run double completed Pittsburgh’s five-run fourth inning and the Pirates shook off Mark Reynolds’ two home runs. The Diamondbacks won the first two games of the four-game series behind staff aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, but Doug Davis (2-3) — who has faced the Pirates more than any other starter — wasn’t nearly as effective in his fourth start since having surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid gland. Giants 6, Nationals 3 At Washington, Barry Zito earned his second win of the season. Aaron Rowand’s bad-hop single gave San Francisco the go-ahead run and capped a four-run fifth inning. Randy Winn hit a two-run single to tie it, and John Bowker’s two-run homer in the seventh sealed the victory. Lastings Milledge homered and drove in two runs for Washington, which has lost seven of eight. Zito (2-9) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. Brewers 3, Rockies 2 At Denver, Jeff Suppan and three relievers limited Colorado to six hits and Milwaukee snapped a six-game slide at Coors Field. Suppan (4-4) pitched 51/3 methodical innings, allowing four hits and two runs — one earned. He tied a season high with five walks but improved to 6-1 against the Rockies.