NL: Mets rally, tighten wild card

Associated Press
Published August 31, 2005

NEW YORK - The Mets returned home with a dramatic victory that made the National League wild-card race even tighter.

Ramon Castro capped a comeback with a three-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night, and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4.

The Phillies (70-62) fell into a tie with Florida. The Mets and Houston are a half-game back.

"Playing from behind, winning games, that's good for us," Castro said. "We always feel confident."

The Mets trailed from the start after Kenny Lofton hit his first home run since opening day and Pat Burrell added a two-run shot in the first inning against Jae Seo.

New York pecked away, as Carlos Beltran drove in a pair of runs with his 14th home run and a fifth-inning single.

Philadelphia led 4-2 in the seventh when Castro led off with a double against reliever Ryan Madson, who took over for starter Robinson Tejeda. The Mets loaded the bases on a hit batsman and a walk before Madson's wild pitch allowed Castro to score.

In the eighth, David Wright opened with a walk against Ugueth Urbina. Victor Diaz also walked and Castro followed with a home run.

MARLINS 7, CARDINALS 6: Carlos Delgado hit a two-run triple in the eighth and host Florida recovered after blowing an early lead.

Florida opened a four-run lead after Miguel Cabrera's three-run homer in the third, but fell behind for the first time when Mark Grudzielanek's run-scoring groundout gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead in the eighth.

Guillermo Mota pitched two innings for the win. Todd Jones allowed pinch-hitter John Mabry's home run in the ninth but earned his 32nd save in 34 opportunities.

ASTROS 5, REDS 2: Morgan Ensberg hit a three-run homer in a five-run fifth to rally host Houston. Cincinnati loaded the bases in the ninth against Brad Lidge. Pinch-hitter Javier Valentin hit a run-scoring groundout then Lidge struck out Edwin Encarnacion to end it.

NATIONALS 3, BRAVES 2: Rookie Jason Bergmann earned his first major-league victory for visiting Washington. When starter John Patterson left after 22/3 innings because of stomach cramps, Bergmann pitched two shutout innings in his second major-league appearance to lead a strong bullpen effort. He also scored the tying run in the fifth.

CUBS 6, DODGERS 3: Nomar Garciaparra hit a home run and drove in two runs for host Chicago. Henry Blanco hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth inning and had three RBIs for the Cubs. Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 chances, retiring pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz on a game-ending flyout with runners at the corners.

PADRES 5, D'BACKS 3: Joe Randa hit a go-ahead home run leading off the sixth inning and Brian Giles had a three-run shot in the first for host San Diego (65-66). It's the latest in a season a team has led a division with a losing record. All the game's runs came on homers. Padres ace Jake Peavy beat Arizona a day after cutting his left (nonthrowing) hand while stuffing a bag of trash into a garbage can, requiring a couple of stitches and a tetanus shot. He allowed Troy Glaus' two-run homer in the first and Luis Gonzalez's shot in the fourth among his seven hits.

PIRATES 6, BREWERS 0: Paul Maholm pitched eight shutout innings in his major-league debut and visiting Pittsburgh had a five-run first to snap a five-game losing streak. The Pirates' first-round draft choice in 2003, Maholm replaced Zach Duke in the rotation when the team's rookie phenom went on the disabled list. The Brewers went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

GIANTS 4, ROCKIES 3: Ray Durham tied it with a double in the eighth, then scored the go-ahead run on Edgardo Alfonzo's infield single for host San Francisco. Jack Taschner pitched one inning for his first major-league victory. Angel Chavez made his major-league debut and went 0-for-4 for the Giants, arriving about an hour before first pitch after being called up from Triple-A Fresno. He started in place of shortstop Omar Vizquel, who had a tension headache and dizziness.