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Cubs Move a Bit Closer to the Astros

August 14, 2003|From Associated Press

Moises Alou hit a three-run homer and Chicago's bullpen didn't give up a run over the final 4 2/3 innings as the Cubs beat the Houston Astros, 6-4, Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Astros in the Central Division. They are a half game behind second-place St. Louis.

Houston left-hander Jeriome Robertson (11-6), bidding to become the first rookie this season with 12 wins, entered the fifth inning with a 4-3 lead before giving up singles to Kenny Lofton and Alex Gonzalez.

Dan Miceli relieved and struck out Sammy Sosa before Alou lofted a long drive to left for his 18th homer.

Cub starter Shawn Estes lost control in the fifth and walked the first two batters. After Jeff Bagwell struck out, Jeff Kent grounded to shortstop, but Gonzalez's throw got by third baseman Aramis Ramirez for an error loading the bases.

Estes then walked Richard Hidalgo on four pitches to force in the tying run before Lance Berkman greeted reliever Mark Guthrie (1-3) with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-3.

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Pittsburgh 6, St. Louis 5 -- Randall Simon's pinch-hit single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning prevented the Cardinals from gaining a first-place tie in the Central Division.

The Cardinals, who lost for the first time in five games, trailed, 2-0, then took a 4-2 lead with a four-run sixth keyed by Albert Pujols' second three-run homer in as many nights. The homer extended his hitting streak to 27 games, the longest in the majors this season.

Consecutive homers by Craig Wilson and Reggie Sanders to start the eighth gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead, but Edgar Renteria's run-scoring single in the top of the ninth tied it at 5-5.

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Arizona 3, Cincinnati 1 -- Luis Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, capping an eighth-inning rally that sent the Diamondbacks to their 16th consecutive victory over the host Reds.

The homer capped a three-run inning and led Arizona to its fourth win in a row. The Reds avoided their third consecutive shutout, but lost for the seventh time in eight games. They have not beaten the Diamondbacks since May 21, 2001.

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Atlanta 7, San Diego 1 -- At Atlanta, Mike Hampton -- helped by homers from Chipper Jones and Vinny Castilla -- extended his winning streak to seven games.

It's Hampton's longest winning streak since he won 11 in a row for the Houston Astros in 1999, when he finished a career-best 22-4.

Hampton (10-5) gave up only three hits in eight innings, but he didn't get a chance for his second complete game in a row. Manager Bobby Cox lifted him for a pinch-hitter, deciding that 99 pitches was enough with a comfortable lead.

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Montreal 6, Colorado 5 -- After an electrical failure briefly plunged Olympic Stadium into complete darkness, Brian Schnieder and Javier Vazquez provided the power for the Expos.

Schneider hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and Vazquez had an RBI triple and a single after a delay of 1 hour 16 minutes. The power went out in the second inning while Vazquez (10-9) was in the middle of his windup.

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Philadelphia 11, Milwaukee 4 -- Jim Thome homered twice and drove in four runs and Kevin Millwood pitched seven solid innings at Philadelphia. Millwood (12-8) yielded three runs and six hits for his second win in six starts.

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