There's nothing like a game against the Atlanta Braves to produce a little added excitement for Al Martin.
"I kind of grew up with those guys," Martin said of the Braves, after driving in three runs with a home run and a single to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-2 victory Friday night at Atlanta.
"It's fun to compete against them," Martin said. "Me and Lemmer (Mark Lemke) were roommates for three years. I roomed with everybody. I must have been there for a while."
Martin came up with the Braves, spending his first seven years in the organization before being claimed by the Pirates as a minor league free agent in 1991.
His offense helped the Pirates win their first road game this season and end a three-game losing streak. Pittsburgh had been the only team in the majors without a road victory, losing its first five.
Cincinnati 4, Florida 2--Barry Larkin, mired in the worst batting slump of his career, stole home and scored another run on a wild pitch as the Reds took advantage of defensive lapses by the Marlins at Cincinnati.
Larkin, who entered the game batting .122, walked and scored the go-ahead run after Marlins reliever Richie Lewis (0-1) loaded the bases in the seventh.
St. Louis 6, Houston 5--Todd Zeile's two-out single brought in the winning run to cap a wild ninth inning as the Cardinals rallied at St. Louis.
The Astros led, 5-4, in the ninth when reliever Mitch Williams (0-1) struck out pinch-hitter Geronimo Pena for the first out but then issued consecutive walks to Ray Lankford, Ozzie Smith and Greg Jefferies to load the bases.
Todd Jones came in and hit Bernard Gilkey with a pitch in the head, forcing in the tying run. Gilkey had words with Jones and both benches cleared briefly, but no punches were thrown. Jones then struck out Brian Jordan before Zeile singled.
Chicago 9, Colorado 2--Derrick May drove in three runs with two doubles, and Willie Banks handcuffed the Rockies through eight innings at Denver, as the Cubs ended their six-game losing streak.
Banks (2-2) held the Rockies to four hits through eight innings and didn't allow more than one runner in any inning. Banks pitched 8 1/3 innings--the longest outing of his career--and allowed seven hits, striking out seven.
San Diego 6, Philadelphia 5--Phil Plantier, making his first start in four games, homered off David West in the eighth inning at San Diego, as the Padres won only their fourth game this season.
Brad Ausmus and Derek Bell also homered and Tony Gwynn and Craig Shipley each had run-scoring doubles for the Padres to give Trevor Hoffman (1-0) the victory.
New York 3, San Francisco 1--Bobby Jones held the Giants to two hits in eight innings and Jeromy Burnitz and David Segui homered to hand Mark Portugal his first loss in 15 decisions at San Francisco.
The Giants were able to get two singles off Jones (3-1) in eight innings. He struck out five and walked three before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the ninth and was replaced by John Franco.
Franco gave up a leadoff homer to Willie McGee in the ninth.
Portugal (2-1), who allowed four hits through seven innings, lost for the first time since July 7 when he pitched for Houston against Pittsburgh. He gave up eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.