Kevin Millwood made sure the Atlanta Braves went to New York in first place.
Millwood pitched six shutout innings and Javy Lopez drove in three runs as the Braves beat the Phillies, 5-1, Thursday night at Philadelphia to open a 11/2-game lead in the NL East.
The Braves avoided a four-game sweep and headed to New York with a 51/2-game lead over the Mets. Today's opener of a three-game series at Shea Stadium is the first major outdoor sporting event in New York since last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"It's going to be emotional," Chipper Jones said. "I doubt there will be a dry eye in the place. If playing the Atlanta Braves can be a rallying point for the people in New York, I'm honored to be a part of it."
Millwood (6-6) allowed three hits and struck out a season-high eight to win for the fourth time in five decisions.
"You don't want to get swept in a four-game series and it's always nice to stay in first place, let the other guys know they are still chasing you," Millwood said.
Lopez gave the Braves a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly in the second. Phillie starter Randy Wolf (7-11) gave up four runs and six hits in 42/3 innings, striking out six in the first three innings.
"He started out pitching good early, had a good fastball," catcher Johnny Estrada said. "Then he left some balls over the plate and had locations problems."
Millwood escaped trouble in the second and third with timely strikeouts.
John Smoltz struck out the side in the ninth in his first appearance since blowing a save chance for the first time Tuesday night.
Brave Manager Bobby Cox was ejected in the second inning by home-plate umpire Mark Barron for arguing balls and strikes.
Chicago 6, Cincinnati 5--Fred McGriff hit a three-run homer, and Jason Bere (11-9) pitched seven shutout innings as the Cubs held off a strong Reds' rally at Cincinnati.
The Reds, on the verge of being shut out in consecutive games for the first time in more than eight years, scored five times in the ninth but fell just short.
By taking two of three, the Cubs built a little momentum for their potentially pivotal weekend series in Houston. The Cubs are third in the NL Central and third in the wild-card race.
St. Louis 9, Pittsburgh 1--Woody Williams (13-9) pitched three-hit ball over seven innings at Pittsburgh and Mark McGwire, who came into the game only because of an injury, homered in his 39th major league park as the Cardinals won their seventh in a row.
The Cardinals won their 10th in 11 games to maintain their 21/2-game lead over the Cubs in the wild-card race.
McGwire's 25th homer started a three-run St. Louis third inning against Jimmy Anderson (7-17), who lost his eighth in nine decisions by surrendering eight hits and walking five in 61/3 innings.
Montreal 8, Colorado 3--Orlando Cabrera hit a tiebreaking three-run double with two outs in the eighth inning to lead the Expos at Montreal.
Cabrera matched his career high with five RBIs. Graeme Lloyd (9-5) allowed one hit in 12/3 innings.