HOUSTON - One swing of Jeff Bagwell's bat was all the Astros needed to snap out of a dangerous funk.
Bagwell hit a two-run homer that landed on a street outside Minute Maid Park, and the Astros overcame a sloppy start to remain atop the wild-card standings with a 4-2 victory over the Rockies on Friday night.
"Baggy is just awesome," said Craig Biggio, Bagwell's teammate for 14 years. "Nothing he does ever surprises me."
The Astros are tied with San Francisco, which won the first of a three-game series against the West-leading Dodgers Friday. Houston, which has won a club-record 16 straight at home, moved two games ahead of the Cubs, who have lost four straight and six of seven.
Mike Gallo earned the win by getting the last out of the third inning, and Brad Lidge got three outs for his 28th save. They were two of seven pitchers to hold off the Rockies for Houston's seventh win in eight games.
Giants stop L.A.
LOS ANGELES - Kirk Rueter pitched seven strong innings and the Giants defeated the Dodgers 4-2, preventing Los Angeles from clinching its first West title since 1995. The Giants remained tied with the Astros in the wild-card race.
J.T. Snow homered and former Dodger Marquis Grissom doubled home two runs for the Giants, who need a sweep of the three-game series to either force a one-game playoff or win the division based on a 10-9 season record against the Dodgers if Houston loses at least once. Barry Bonds went 0-for-1 with three walks, including two intentional.
The Dodgers' last playoff appearance was 1996, when they won the wild card and were swept by Atlanta in the first round.
BRAVES 5, CUBS 4: Pitcher Mike Hampton hit a two-run homer off Kerry Wood and so did No. 8 hitter Dewayne Wise as visiting Atlanta wrapped up the No. 2 seed. Wood gave up 10 hits and five runs in seven innings for the reeling Cubs, who have lost four in a row and six of seven.
CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 1: Rick Ankiel won his first game in 31/2 years but beaned a batter. Ankiel, activated from the disabled list Sept. 1, gave up two hits for host St. Louis. Ankiel, whose career was derailed by wildness in 2000, beaned Dave Krynzel on a hanging curveball with one out in the sixth.
PHILLIES 6, MARLINS 2: Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco homered and Cory Lidle pitched six solid innings for host Philadelphia, which secured second place in the East.
REDS 5, PIRATES 1: Barry Larkin homered in what could be his final at-bat for host Cincinnati. Adam Dunn hit his 46th homer, the fourth-highest total in Reds history. Larkin, 40, is concluding his 19th season with his hometown team, which has declined to discuss an extension.
PADRES 3, D'BACKS 2: Pinch-hitter Miguel Ojeda hit a two-run homer in the seventh for host San Diego, which was knocked out of the playoff race.
EXPOS 4, METS 2: Terrmel Sledge hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth for visiting Montreal.