PITTSBURGH – Two months ago, an early two-run deficit would have had the Pittsburgh Pirates scrambling. Now, it’s just a blip. And for the moment, two decades of losing almost seem to be one, too.
Mike McKenry and Pedro Alvarez drove in two runs apiece and the Pirates looked pretty comfortable during their first day in first place, beating the Houston Astros 6-4 Wednesday.
The Astros have lost seventh straight and shipped veteran first baseman Carlos Lee to the Miami Marlins after the game as part of a rebuilding process. It’s a process the Pirates know well, though it appears to be on its way to completion.
Nationals 9, Giants 4: Ryan Zimmerman’s line drive to right-center kept going – and going and going – until it landed in the first row, highlighting another big Fourth of July for the resurgent third baseman and as the NL East-leading Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants.
Zimmerman missed another home run by inches – he had to settle for an RBI double – on a humid day when the ball carried well at Nationals Park.
Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee finally posted his first win of the season and the Philadelphia Phillies hit three late homers, breaking past the Mets and stopping a six-game losing streak.
Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty Wigginton’s two-run homer in the ninth capped the surge.
Marlins 7, Brewers 6, 10 innings: Hanley Ramirez hit an RBI single off reliever Manny Parra in the 10th inning, and the Marlins went on to beat the Brewers.
Ramirez’s big hit came after the Marlins rallied from a one-run deficit in the ninth, when Gaby Sanchez hit a solo home run off Brewers closer John Axford to tie the game at 6.
Cubs 5, Braves 1: Bryan LaHair, Jeff Baker and Anthony Rizzo hit home runs and the Chicago Cubs continued their success against Atlanta by beating the Braves. Paul Maholm (6-6) gave up one run on eight hits in six innings.
The Cubs have won two of the first three games in the four-game series after winning two of three in Chicago on May 7-9.
Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Adam Wainwright pitched six strong innings and Matt Holliday had three hits to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a win over the Colorado Rockies.
Wainwright (7-8) gave up one run, struck out seven and allowed eight hits to help the Cardinals win for the third time in four games. He fanned seven of the first 13 hitters and threw a first-pitch strike to nine of the first 10 batters.
Other results: LA Dodgers 4, Cincinnati Reds 1; San diego Padres 8, Arizona Diamondbacks 6. — Agencies