NL: roundup

Published May 31, 2006

DODGERS 8, BRAVES 3: ATLANTA - Aaron Sele has been closely watching Andre Ethier and the rest of Los Angeles' impressive rookie class longer than most.

Sele, 35, was at Triple-A Las Vegas with Ethier and other recent callups in April, and he says he saw the success coming.

Ethier hit a two-run homer, his fourth, and drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning single to lift the Dodgers.

"They have the right attitude," Sele said. "They show up and they're ready to work. They absorb what's going on. That's why they've had such great success."

Sele was denied his fourth win in his fifth start since he was called up May 6, leaving with the score tied at 3.

Ethier, an outfielder recalled from Las Vegas on May 2, is hitting .313 with four homers and 12 RBIs. The Dodgers called up outfielder Matt Kemp on Sunday, and he had two hits and two RBIs in a 12-5 win over the Braves on Monday.

The Dodgers have seven rookies on their 25-man roster, and many have played key roles in the team's strong month.

The Dodgers have won 10 of 12 and are 18-9 in May. The last time they won 18 games in May was in 1993, when they were 18-8.

Another rookie, third baseman Willy Aybar, drove in two with a ninth-inning double as the Dodgers, who lead the league in runs, had 13 hits against former Devil Ray Jorge Sosa and two relievers.

"They've got one of the best-hitting teams we've faced," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "They're good."

Though he didn't start Monday, Ethier has been receiving regular starts in leftfield.

"He showed us a lot in spring training, but what he's been able to show us when he's been with the club has been amazing," Dodgers manager Grady Little said.

Little showed his confidence in Ethier by allowing the left-handed hitter to stay in the game against veteran left-handed reliever Mike Remlinger in a key eighth-inning situation.

Ethier's single up the middle drove in Nomar Garciaparra from second to break a tie at 3.

"I haven't faced too many lefties since I've been up here," Ethier said. "You have to find a way to get it done."

Ethier said he took more pride in the hit off Remlinger than his two-run homer in the fourth off Sosa.

"Of course it's a different ballgame up here, but in my minor-league career I've had success against lefties," Ethier said.

NOTABLE: Sele's double in the fifth was his second career extra-base hit and first in eight years. He doubled in 1998 for the Rangers.

CUBS 8, REDS 3: CHICAGO - Greg Maddux won for the first time since April 28, and Jacque Jones drove in four for the Cubs.

Maddux started 5-0 but lost his next four decisions.

Cincinnati starter Brandon Claussen walked the first two batters after a 61-minute rain delay in the fourth to load the bases, and Jones lined a two-out, bases-clearing double into the corner in right.

NOTABLE: Maddux, a 15-time Gold Glove winner, grabbed three comebackers in the first two innings and stopped Ken Griffey's hard smash up the middle in the fourth before throwing him out.

ASTROS 6, CARDINALS 3: ST. LOUIS - Craig Biggio's two-run homer capped a five-run seventh for Houston.

The big inning rescued Andy Pettitte, who left after six innings trailing 3-1, and kept the Astros from dropping below .500 for the first time all season. Houston is 9-17 on the road and 3-6 with one game left on a 10-game trip.

Houston is 11-18 this month, avoiding the franchise's worst May. The Astros were 10-19 last season and in 2000.

NOTABLE: Biggio hit his 624th career double, tying him with Hank Aaron for ninth. He has 2,850 hits, moving two past Brooks Robinson for 40th place.

D'BACKS 7, METS 2: NEW YORK - Eric Byrnes hit his third home run in two days and Conor Jackson added a three-run shot for Arizona.

With Arizona leading 3-1, Byrnes led off the fifth against starter Alay Soler with his ninth homer. After Chad Tracy singled and Luis Gonzalez walked, Jackson broke the game open with his sixth homer.

Miguel Batista pitched the eighth complete game of his career and first since 2004.

The Diamondbacks scored two on one hit in the first.

Craig Counsell opened with a single and stole second. After Byrnes walked, the runners advanced on Tracy's long fly. Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly, with Counsell scoring and Bynes advancing to third. Byrnes scored when ball four to Jackson was a wild pitch.

NOTABLE: Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish threw out the first pitch.

MARLINS 5, GIANTS 3: MIAMI - Miguel Cabrera drove in four and Brian Moehler pitched six solid innings for Florida.

Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the third and a run-scoring double in the eighth. Moehler won his third straight decision, and three relievers shut San Francisco down, with former Devil Ray Joe Borowski pitching the ninth for his sixth save in seven opportunities.

Lance Niekro homered twice for the Giants and went 3-for-4 after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day. He singled his first time up and scored on Omar Vizquel's fourth triple of the season in the third.

Moehler helped himself with a run-scoring single off Noah Lowry in the third, his first hit of the season in 17 at-bats. Dan Uggla singled one out later, giving the rookie a hit in 17 of his past 20 games, and Cabrera followed with his ninth homer for a 4-1 lead.

NOTABLE: Moehler's single was his fourth career hit in 87 at-bats. He also has four career RBIs.

PHILLIES 4, NATIONALS 2: PHILADELPHIA - Brett Myers pitched eight strong innings and Bobby Abreu hit a three-run homer to lead the Phillies.

Myers, who hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 11 starts, improved his ERA to 2.80 to help Philadelphia win its third straight after losing nine of 11.

Marlon Byrd hit a two-run homer for Washington, which has lost three of four since winning four in a row.

Tony Armas set down the first nine batters before Jimmy Rollins singled leading off the fourth. Chase Utley followed with a single, and Abreu hit a 3-and-1 pitch into the second deck in rightfield.

Abreu's seventh homer was estimated at 434 feet. It was the first homer off Armas since May 3 and the fourth this season.

Armas left after walking Myers to force in a run in the seventh.

NOTABLE: Abreu's one-hop strike to the plate in second nailed Nick Johnson, who was trying to score on Marlon Anderson's single to rightfield.

PIRATES 12, BREWERS 1: PITTSBURGH - Jose Castillo homered twice and had a career-high six RBIs for the Pirates.

Castillo, who has homered in four straight games and has seven on the season, hit a drive to left-center in the second and a three-run shot to left in the third that traveled an estimated 441 feet.

He narrowly missed a third homer in the seventh when his high flyball to center hit off the top of the wall. Castillo settled for a run-scoring double. He singled in Ryan Doumit in the eighth for his sixth RBI, most by a Pirates player this season.

NOTABLE: Castillo is the second Pirate in the past week to have a four-game home run streak. Jason Bay had his six-game streak snapped Monday.