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Marlins Increase Wild-Card Lead

September 18, 2003|From Associated Press

Jeff Conine homered, drove in three runs and made two outstanding defensive plays in left field, leading the Florida Marlins to an 11-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Philadelphia.

The Marlins increased their National League wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games over the Phillies. The teams play at Veterans Stadium today and have a three-game series in Miami next week. The Marlins have won nine of their last 10 against Philadelphia.

Conine hit a one-out solo shot off Brett Myers in the fourth, giving the Marlins a 4-3 lead. It was his second homer since coming back to Florida in a trade from Baltimore last month.

Conine, an original member of the Marlins and part of the franchise's only championship team six years ago, was acquired to help replace injured All-Star Mike Lowell. Conine was hitting .184 with the Marlins before the game.

"Fortunately for my health and sanity, we won a lot of the games I didn't come through in," Conine said.

Conine's first defensive gem came in the fifth. He made a spectacular, spinning, one-handed catch in front of the left-field wall. In the sixth, Conine threw out Jimmy Rollins attempting to score.

Chicago 2, New York 0 -- Kerry Wood struck out 11 in his fourth complete game of the year, and Doug Glanville and Aramis Ramirez homered as the Cubs completed a three-game sweep at Chicago.

The Cubs improved to 13-4 in September and moved a half-game behind first-place Houston in the NL Central.

Wood pitched a four-hitter for his 13th win, matching his total from 1998, when he won NL rookie of the year honors. Wood (13-11) has at least 12 victories in each of the four years he has been healthy enough to pitch the full season.

The Mets put one runner on base in the last six innings, a two-out single by Vance Wilson in the seventh.

Colorado 7, Houston 5 -- Todd Helton homered and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney had a two-run single for the Rockies at Denver. Houston had its four-game winning streak end but still has won 10 of 13. Colorado ended a three-game losing skid.

Charles Johnson homered off Brad Lidge in the eighth for the Rockies, and Chris Stynes added an RBI double. Darren Oliver (12-11) gave up nine hits and two runs -- none earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. He helped his cause with an RBI single.

Milwaukee 7, St. Louis 6 -- Jason Conti drove in a career-high five runs, including a go-ahead single in the ninth inning at St. Louis.

Pinch-hitter Brooks Kieschnick tied the score with a two-run homer off Cardinal closer Jason Isringhausen, who blew a 6-4 lead in the ninth.

Atlanta 14, Montreal 4 -- Mike Hampton gave up three hits in five innings and hit a home run at Montreal as the Braves closed in on their record 12th straight division title.

Javy Lopez and Andruw Jones also homered. Lopez's homer, his 41st, was his 40th as a catcher, one behind Todd Hundley's major league record set in 1996 for the Mets.

Pittsburgh 8, Cincinnati 5 -- Matt Stairs hit a two-run homer at Pittsburgh and Jeff D'Amico (9-15) won at home for the first time in two months.

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