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NL: roundup

By TIMES WIRES
Published June 3, 2006


MARLINS 4, ROCKIES 2: DENVER - Dontrelle Willis ended his longest career winless skid at eight starts, tossing seven strong innings in Florida's win over Colorado.

Willis (2-6) surrendered two runs on seven hits in winning for the first time since April 14 against Washington. He had lost six straight decisions since then, despite allowing just six earned runs his previous three starts.

This time he got just enough run support, including a solo homer by Jeremy Hermida, who went 3-for-4.

The Marlins also won for the first time in seven road starts by Willis, the Cy Young Award runner-up to Chris Carpenter last season when he went 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA - more than two runs lower than it is now.

Willis allowed home runs to light-hitting Ryan Spilborghs (his second) and Clint Barmes (his third) but both shots came with the bases empty.

NOTABLE: Willis is one win shy of matching A.J. Burnett's club record of 49.

REDS 14, ASTROS 3: HOUSTON - Edwin Encarnacion and Austin Kearns each had four RBIs and Cincinnati scored nine runs over the first three innings in a victory over Houston.

Brandon Phillips homered and Ken Griffey Jr. had two hits and scored two runs as the Reds beat the Astros in Houston for just the third time in the last 17 meetings.

Lance Berkman and Preston Wilson homered for the Astros, who have lost eight of their last 10 and two straight since Roger Clemens rejoined them on Wednesday.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is working out with the Astros' Class-A affiliate in Lexington, Ky., but dozens of fans in Houston wore Clemens jerseys, wishing he was already here.

Once the game started, they missed him even more.

The first seven Reds reached base against starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-3), who was yanked by manager Phil Garner after just 11/3 innings. The Astros trailed 7-0 when the 27-year-old left-hander gave way to right-hander Chris Sampson, who was called up from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Friday.

Sampson, 7-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts in the minors this season, pitched 51/3 innings in his major league debut. He got a standing ovation when he left in the seventh. Reds starter Aaron Harang (6-4) came in with an NL-best 1.23 ERA on the road. He allowed two runs and five hits with five strikeouts in six innings, beating Houston for the second time this season.

Harang retired the first six Astros before walking Jason Lane to open the third. Lane eventually scored on Willy Taveras' single to center, Houston's first hit. Berkman homered in the fourth, his 12th of the season from the left side.

Pinch-hitter David Ross hit a three-run homer in the ninth for the Reds.

NOTABLE: The Reds led the majors in errors (49) and unearned runs (33) heading into Friday's game.

NATIONALS 10, BREWERS 4: MILWAUKEE - Brian Schneider's three-run double broke it open for Washington. Ramon Ortiz, who started 0-4, won his fourth in a row.

The Nationals scored a run without a hit in the fifth. After Royce Clayton walked and Jose Vidro was hit by a pitch, Nick Johnson hit a slow grounder to second baseman Rickie Weeks. Prince Fielder couldn't handle Weeks' throw, allowing Clayton to score. Marlon Byrd's single then made it 5-2.

It was 5-3 in the seventh when Vidro's single, Johnson's double and an intentional walk to Ryan Zimmerman loaded the bases. After Daryle Ward struck out, Schneider's liner to the leftfield wall cleared the bases and made it 8-3.

NOTABLE: The Brewers have lost six in a row to drop three games below .500 for the first time this season. During the streak, they have given up 10 or more runs three times and been outscored 52-14.

PADRES 7, PIRATES 0: PITTSBURGH - Chan Ho Park shook off a series of poor starts to hold Pittsburgh without a run, and Mike Piazza and Brian Giles homered as San Diego beat the Pirates in a game played in a near downpour before being called after six innings.

The Pirates chose to delay the start by two hours even though little rain was falling, only to have the rain increase significantly just before play started. Umpire crew chief Gerry Davis chose to play through the heavy rain, even as large puddles formed behind third base, between first and second and near the batter's box.

The field became so wet that Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson nearly slipped while fielding one ground ball that splashed to him through a puddle. Several inches of standing water gathered on the outfield warning track and, according to the Pirates, the grounds crew used 41/2 tons of quick-drying material - or 200 bags.

Despite the weather, the Padres had no trouble solving Pirates starter Oliver Perez (2-6), who was coming off three strong starts in which he gave up four runs in 20 innings.

Eric Young and Giles singled in the first before Piazza hit his 27th career homer against the Pirates, a drive that easily reached the seats behind the 410-foot mark in left-center, the deepest part of PNC Park.

Park raised his batting average to .400 (8-of-20) with three hits.

NOTABLE: San Diego scored more runs in six innings than it did (5) in a three-game series against Colorado this week.