Lieber, Philly top Braves in pitching duel
After an 0-5 start, the Mets beat Florida to win their sixth straight game.
PHILADELPHIA -- Jon Lieber outdueled John Smoltz and Chase Utley had a tiebreaking RBI single and game-saving catch, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Lieber (3-0) allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings to win his third straight start since joining the Phillies. Billy Wagner pitched a shaky ninth for his second save. He allowed two hits, two long fly outs and threw a wild pitch, but second baseman Utley made a diving, backhanded catch on Brian Jordan's liner to end it with runners at second and third.
Jimmy Rollins hit a tying homer off Smoltz (0-3) in the sixth, helping the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak.
Smoltz gave up two runs and five hits, striking out four in seven innings. The former Cy Young Award winner is winless since returning to the starting rotation after saving 154 games. But the Braves have scored just two runs in his three starts.
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E--Furcal (1), Mondesi (1). DP--Atlanta 1. LOB--Atlanta 6, Philadelphia 6. 2B--CJones (4), JEstrada (4), Utley (1). HR--Rollins (1). SB--Rollins (3), BAbreu (5). CS--Furcal (1), Mondesi (1).
WP--BWagner. Umpires--Home, Ted Barrett; First, Alfonso Marquez; Second, Rick Reed; Third, Terry Craft. T--2:11. A--36,820.
Mets 4, Marlins 3
NEW YORK -- Ramon Castro singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning, leading the Mets to their sixth straight victory.
Pedro Martinez struck out nine in a stellar home debut for New York -- but the Mets' new ace was outpitched by their old one, Al Leiter.
The left-hander allowed only three hits in seven innings and left with a 2-1 lead before New York rallied against reliever Todd Jones in the eighth.
Carlos Beltran tied it with a two-out single and Mike Piazza followed with a go-ahead double to give the Mets a 3-2 edge, overcoming Martinez's career-high three wild pitches.
Braden Looper (1-1) couldn't hold it. He gave up three hits in the ninth, including Juan Encarnacion's tying double with two outs, for his second blown save in three chances this year.
But Victor Diaz, doubled off Guillermo Mota (0-1) with two outs in the ninth and scored when Castro lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center for the game-winning hit.
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Two outs when winning run scored.
E--Pierre (1). DP--Florida 1, New York 1. LOB--Florida 5, New York 6. 2B--JEncarnacion (2), Cairo (2), Piazza (4), Diaz (2). SB--LCastillo (2). S--KMatsui.
WP--PMartinez 3. Umpires--Home, Charlie Reliford; First, Angel Hernandez; Second, Greg Gibson; Third, Brian Runge. T--2:46. A--55,351.
Reds 3, Astros 2
CINCINNATI -- Left-hander Eric Milton finally pitched like a pricey and prized acquisition, and the Reds ended their 12-game losing streak against Houston.
Milton (2-1) gave up three hits in seven innings, his first impressive showing in three starts for the team that made him the centerpiece of its offseason overhaul. Milton got a $4 million bonus as part of a three-year, $25.5 million deal last December.
The Reds had to beat left-hander Andy Pettitte (0-1) to break one of the longest head-to-head losing streaks in franchise history.
Danny Graves gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Mike Lamb in the ninth, but finished the combined five-hitter to get his third save.
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DP--Houston 2. LOB--Houston 5, Cincinnati 6. 2B--Bagwell (2), Ausmus (1), Griffey Jr. 2 (4), WPena (2).
Umpires--Home, Sam Holbrook; First, Jim Wolf; Second, Randy Marsh; Third, Larry Vanover. T--2:28. A--26,926.
Cardinals 5, Brewers 3
MILWAUKEE -- Scott Rolen snapped out of his early-season slump with a two-run homer and two singles.
St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter (2-1) left in the seventh inning with a 5-0 lead and the bases loaded. Brady Clark greeted reliever Al Reyes with a three-run double to make it 5-3.
Jason Isringhausen pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Rolen, who entered batting .125 (4-for-32), homered in the first and hit singles in the fifth and seventh innings. The homer was his first of the season.
Milwaukee starter Doug Davis (2-1) pitched 41/3 innings, giving up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and two walks. He struck out two.
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E--DMiller (1), Cirillo (1). LOB--St. Louis 12, Milwaukee 5. 2B--Luna (1), BClark (2), DMiller (2). HR--Pujols (3), Rolen (1). S--Carpenter 2.
Carpenter W,2-16 2-353335
DDavis L,2-14 1-364322
WP--Turnbow. Umpires--Home, Fieldin Culbreth; First, Eric Cooper; Second, Ed Hickox; Third, Larry Young. T--3:07. A--30,732.
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