PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett stole two bases, then scored the decisive run on Jason Lane’s single in the ninth inning to give the NL wild-card leading Houston Astros a 2-1 victory Tuesday night over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Astros moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia in the wild-card race with their 11th consecutive win over the Phillies.

Bruntlett’s daring dashes made a winner of Roy Oswalt (17-11), who struck out eight, allowed six hits and one earned run in eight innings. Brad Lidge worked the ninth for his 34th save.

With one out in the ninth, Lance Berkman was walked by Billy Wagner (4-2) before Bruntlett came on.

Philadelphia’s run came on Ryan Howard’s fifth-inning homer. Craig Biggio homered in the first for Houston.

Braves 3, Mets 1

ATLANTA (AP) — John Smoltz outpitched Pedro Martinez, and Andruw Jones drove in two runs for the Braves.

Facing Martinez for the third time this season, Smoltz (14-6) won his second straight in the matchup of former Cy Young Award winners. Smoltz allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings, walking one and striking out two while leading Atlanta to its fifth win in six games.

Martinez (13-7) pitched six innings, allowing five hits and three runs for New York, which has lost six of seven.

Marlins 4, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida’s Luis Castillo went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, and Ismael Valdez won for the first time in more than a month.

In a game between teams fighting for the NL wild card, the Marlins scored three runs in the third inning against Darrell Rasner, making his major league debut.

Valdez (2-1), who missed much of the season with a broken right leg, went five innings and allowed three hits. Among them was Brad Wilkerson’s 11th homer, a two-run shot in the third.

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 35th save — and 25th in a row — for the Marlins.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 2

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chicago’s Glendon Rusch was perfect for six innings and pitched into the eighth.

Derrek Lee hit his 40th homer on his 30th birthday and drove in two runs for the Cubs, who knocked out Matt Morris in the fifth and won for the fourth time in five games.

Corey Patterson also homered for the Cubs.

Leading off the seventh, David Eckstein singled up the middle to break up Rusch’s perfect game. Rusch (6-8) allowed two runs on four hits in 7 2-3 innings, and Ryan Dempster got his 23rd save.

Morris (14-7) allowed four runs on nine hits.

Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 2, 12 innings

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie catcher Ryan Doumit’s errant throw on a rundown play in the 12th inning got Pete Mackanin’s managerial run in Pittsburgh off to a losing start.

The Pirates dropped their fifth in a row, 10th in 11 games and 15th in 19 — a slide that caused manager Lloyd McClendon to be fired earlier in the day.

With Chad Tracy on second, Chris Snyder singled to right. Tracy, realizing he would be out, started back to third, but Doumit’s throw struck him in the lower left shoulder, allowing him to score.

Royce Clayton followed with an RBI single off John Grabow (2-2). Jose Valverde (2-4) pitched two scoreless innings, and Buddy Groom finished got his first save this season.

Reds 2, Brewers 1, 10 innings

CINCINNATI (AP) — Javier Valentin’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Reds the victory.

Adam Dunn singled with one out off Jorge De La Rosa (2-2) and moved to third on Sean Casey’s single. Valentin followed with a line-drive over drawn-in center fielder Brady Clark.

Kent Mercker (3-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the win. Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang gave up one run and eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings.

Geoff Jenkins, who tied his career high with five hits Monday, had an RBI double for Milwaukee.


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