Braves belt Nationals, 6-2

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ATLANTA – John Smoltz pitched a four-hitter and the Atlanta Braves won for the fourth time in five games, beating the Washington Nationals 6-2 Friday night.

The Braves broke open a 3-2 game with three runs in the seventh. Andruw Jones had a run-scoring single that knocked out Washington starter Ramon Ortiz, and Jeff Francoeur drove in two more with a bases-loaded single that extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Francoeur had three RBIs overall.

Phillies 8, Reds 4

CINCINNATI – Left-hander Cole Hamels threw five shutout innings in a solid major league debut Friday night, and Shane Victorino’s four hits sent the surging Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Victorino and Ryan Howard had two-run homers that helped the Phillies win for the 11th time in 12 games, a stretch that includes one impressive streak – nine straight victories – and one equally impressive debut.

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Padres 10, Cubs 5

CHICAGO – Mike Piazza had his first four-hit game of the season and the San Diego Padres won for the 12th time in 13 games, beating the slumping Chicago Cubs 10-5 on Friday.

Piazza doubled in the go-ahead run in the fourth. And the Padres broke open the game with five runs in the fifth, thanks to three errors by the Cubs, who have lost 12 of 14 games.

Cardinals 5, D-backs 3

ST. LOUIS – Jim Edmonds homered and drove in three runs, helping Mark Mulder and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Friday night.

Albert Pujols drove in his major league-leading 44th run and David Eckstein singled twice for his 15th multihit game. The Cardinals have won six of seven overall and are 13-4 against the Diamondbacks the last four seasons.

Pirates 12, Marlins 9

PITTSBURGH – Jason Bay had four RBIs after getting dropped to sixth in the batting order, and the Pittsburgh Pirates overcame an early five-run deficit Friday night for a 12-9 win over the Florida Marlins in a wild game between teams with the two worst records in the National League.

Craig Wilson and Jose Castillo each had three hits for the Pirates. Jeromy Burnitz and Freddy Sanchez drove in two runs apiece, and Nate McLouth scored four times. Bay hit a bases-loaded triple.

Brewers 9, Mets 6

MILWAUKEE – Prince Fielder homered twice, Geoff Jenkins hit a three-run double and the Milwaukee Brewers finally figured out Jose Lima in a 9-6 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.

The Brewers scored their first seven runs with two outs, including six in the fifth inning to deal the NL East-leading Mets their fourth loss in five games. Carlos Delgado homered and David Wright drove in two runs for New York.

Lima (0-2) came in with a 10-0 record and 1.92 ERA in 14 appearances against Milwaukee, and the Mets’ starter was cruising into the fifth, allowing just two hits and one run.

Astros 12, Rockies 2

HOUSTON – Morgan Ensberg had four RBIs, including a tie-breaking three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Houston Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 12-2 on Friday night. Craig Biggio and Mike Lamb also had home runs for the Astros, who came up one run shy of their season high.

The loss gave Colorado its first three-game losing streak of the season Ensberg took Rockies starter Jason Jennings to a full count with the scored tied 1-1 and the crowd on its feet and cheering wildy.

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