The Houston Astros will probably be weary once their 26-game, 28-day trip finally ends.
But Monday night, Eric Anthony helped put the Astros in good spirits with an 11th-inning grand slam that gave the Astros a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the first game of the trip.
The Astros are taking the longest trip in team history because the Astrodome is the site of the Republican convention.
Anthony, who homered twice Sunday in the Astros' final home game until Aug. 25, hit his first career grand slam and 12th homer of the season against Alejandro Pena (1-5) after Craig Biggio and Steve Finley singled and Jeff Bagwell walked.
"I was surprised that he (Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox) left Pena in," said Anthony, a left-handed hitter. "I thought he would bring in the lefty (Mike) Stanton. But I guess Cox was playing the percentages going with his closer. The results didn't work out."
It was the Astros' third victory in 21 games against the Braves. The Astros are 2-8 this season against Atlanta.
The loss was the second in a row for the Braves, who had their 13-game winning streak stopped Sunday by Pittsburgh.
Brian Williams gave up six hits, struck out two and did not issue a walk in seven innings. Doug Jones (8-7) earned the victory with three scoreless innings. Xavier Hernandez pitched one inning for his fifth save.
Braves' starter John Smoltz extended his scoreless streak to 29 innings before the Astros scored in the third on singles by Finley, Bagwell and Anthony and a sacrifice fly by Ken Caminiti.
Montreal 6, St. Louis 4--Darren Reed hit a three-run homer and Delino DeShields homered and tripled at St. Louis as the Expos closed to within one game of NL East-leading Pittsburgh.
The Expos have not been so close to first place after the All-Star break since Aug. 7, 1989. The Expos were also a game back on that date, but finished 12 games behind Chicago.
Ken Hill (12-4) won his seventh consecutive decision and set a career high for victories. Marquis Grissom added his seventh home run as the Expos won their fourth in a row.
John Wetteland pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 22nd save, striking out Gerald Perry with runners on second and third to end the game.
The Expos improved to 35-27 under Manager Felipe Alou.
Reed hit his fourth home run in 47 at-bats and second in three days. Last week, Reed was placed on waivers and refused an assignment to the minors.
Chicago 3, Pittsburgh 2--Sammy Sosa celebrated his return from the disabled list by homering on Doug Drabek's first pitch. Sosa later scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on Kal Daniels' sacrifice fly at Chicago.
Greg Maddux (13-8) beat Drabek (8-8) as the Cubs pulled within 5 1/2 games of the Pirates in the NL East. The Pirates have lost six of eight.
Maddux won for the eighth time in 10 starts. He gave up six hits, walked six and struck out 10 in eight innings. Jeff Robinson pitched the ninth for his first save.
Drabek allowed nine hits in his fifth complete game.
Andy Van Slyke hit his third home run with two outs in the first, only the fifth homer against Maddux in 34 starts.
Philadelphia 5, New York 0--Curt Schilling pitched his second consecutive shutout as the Mets' scoreless streak was extended to 29 innings in the loss at Philadelphia.
Schilling (9-6) has pitched 24 consecutive scoreless innings, 10 short of the club record. He pitched a six-hitter, struck out five and walked none in his fourth shutout this season.
It was the 14th time the Mets have been shut out, matching the Mets most since 1980, when they were blanked 14 times.
Bret Saberhagen (3-3) gave up four runs and four hits in four innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list.
Phillie pitchers haven't walked a batter in 19 1/3 innings.
San Diego 2, Cincinnati 1--Randy Myers got pinch-hitter Chris Sabo to ground into a game-ending double play to preserve the victory at San Diego.
Darrin Jackson of the Padres led off the home half of the eighth with a triple and scored on Tim Teufel's two-out single to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. The Padres moved within five games of first-place Atlanta in the NL West and prevented the Reds from tying the Braves.
Andy Benes (8-9), the victim of shutout losses in his previous two starts, gave up seven hits in eight innings.
Greg Swindell (9-4) gave up seven hits and lost his second consecutive decision after winning six in a row.