Dante Bichette likes hitting with the game on the line. And the Colorado Rockies like it too.
Bichette showed why by hitting his 37th home run, a two-run shot in the seventh inning Saturday that lifted the Rockies over the Florida Marlins, 8-7, at Denver and sent them two games ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West.
"I love being in those situations with the chance to win the game, and I was fortunate enough to get a pitch to hit," Bichette said.
Bichette, who drove in three runs, leads the league in home runs and RBIs (115). Larry Walker also hit a two-run homer for Colorado.
The Rockies also set a team record with six consecutive hits during a six-run third inning that made it 6-3.
Steve Reed (5-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory. Bruce Ruffin got his 10th save. Terry Mathews (4-4) took the loss.
Houston 7, Montreal 4--Doug Brocail held Montreal to four hits over 6 2/3 innings and Brian Hunter knocked in two runs at Montreal to help the Astros move within 1 1/2 games of the Dodgers in the wild-card race.
Brocail (5-3) gave up three hits in the first two innings--including Tony Tarasco's solo homer--then retired 10 in a row before David Segui's bunt single in the sixth.
Carlos Perez (10-7) was the loser.
Atlanta 6, Cincinnati 1--Greg Maddux pitched seven shutout innings in the rain for his major league-record 17th consecutive road victory in the Braves' rout at Cincinnati.
Marquis Grissom, David Justice and Ryan Klesko hit solo home runs.
Cincinnati lost for the sixth time in nine games, keeping its number for clinching the NL Central title at four. The Reds also lost shortstop Barry Larkin, who suffered a bruised hand when hit by a Maddux pitch in the sixth inning.
Maddux (17-2) became the league's first 17-game winner. He gave up only four singles and struck out eight in seven innings while lowering his league-leading earned-run average to 1.75.
Cleveland's Cal McLish, Detroit's Denny McLain and the Chicago White Sox's Rich Dotson shared the previous mark of 16.
New York 10, Philadelphia 8--Carl Everett hit a three-run double and Rico Brogna hit his 20th home run at New York as the Phillies lost for the seventh time in 11 games.
Dave Telgheder (1-1) pitched five innings and John Franco got his 25th save. Tommy Greene (0-5) was chased during a five-run second inning.
San Diego 12, Chicago 4--Ken Caminiti homered from both sides of the plate and drove in three runs and Tony Gwynn drove in three runs on three consecutive singles as the Padres blew out the Cubs at San Diego.
Andy Ashby (10-10), who hadn't won in a month, joined in the 17-hit attack with a two-run single in the sixth.
Sammy Sosa homered twice for Chicago, giving him a career-high 36.
Pittsburgh 10, San Francisco 2--Don Slaught singled in two runs in a four-run sixth inning at Pittsburgh and Denny Neagle pitched his fifth complete game and won for only the second time in his last 12 starts.
Neagle (12-7) struck out a career-high 10 batters while improving his career mark against the Giants to 7-1, which includes a 4-0 record this year. Shawn Estes (0-1) lost in his major league debut.