ST. LOUIS – Barry Bonds’ chase of Hank Aaron is now on a four-day hiatus. The All-Star break might be coming at a better time for San Francisco’s other star Barry – struggling left-hander Barry Zito.
Bonds went 0-for-3 in his final game of the first half and remained at 751 home runs, Chris Duncan drove in three runs for St. Louis and the Cardinals avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory Sunday over the San Francisco Giants.
Duncan’s two-run double in the fifth knocked out Zito (6-9), who ended his disappointing first half with a six-start winless stretch and four straight dropped decisions. That’s hardly what the Giants or the $126 million man himself expected after he received the richest deal ever for a pitcher.
Ryan Ludwick doubled twice, drove in a run and matched his career high with three hits, and Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) pitched five shutout innings. Four relievers finished the five-hit shutout, St. Louis’ first at home this season and third overall.
Duncan also hit an RBI single in the seventh, helping the Cardinals avert their first three-game sweep at Busch Stadium since the New York Mets took all three April 1-4 to open the season.
Pirates 6, Cubs 2
PITTSBURGH – Jason Bay, slumping for more than a month, hit a two-run home run off Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano while driving in four Pittsburgh runs, and left-hander Shane Youman held Chicago to two runs over six innings.
The Cubs were one of the majors’ hottest teams with 11 wins in 13 games before dropping two of three to the Pirates, who go into the All-Star break off a modest surge of four consecutive series victories and five wins in six games against division rivals Chicago and Milwaukee.
Zambrano (10-7) limited the Pirates to four hits over seven innings – they had two harmless singles in the fourth – but still lost for the first time in four decisions.
Youman is 2-0 since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis for his only two career victories. He allowed plenty of base runners – eight in six innings – but worked his way out of major problems with minimal damage several times.
Nationals 7, Brewers 2
WASHINGTON – Ryan Zimmerman’s two-run homer ignited a six-run rally in the sixth inning and Washington’s Tim Redding as a starter for the first time in almost three years.
Redding (1-1) had not prevailed in a start since July 24, 2004, for Houston against Milwaukee. Redding went six innings, allowed two runs and five hits, walked one and struck out one.
The Nationals, who won a second consecutive game for the first time since taking three in a row from June 12-14, sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth. They scored six times against Chris Capuano (5-6) – their biggest inning of the season – to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Felipe Lopez homered and reached base four times for Washington.
The division-leading Brewers have lost five of six.
Reds 4, Diamondbacks 3, 11 innings
CINCINNATI – Scott Hatteberg’s two-out single in the 11th inning – his fourth hit of the game – helped Cincinnati complete its first sweep of the season and its first over Arizona since 1999.
For the second day in a row, one of the NL’s worst bullpens blew a late lead before the Reds recovered and pulled it out.
The Reds have won a season-high four in a row and gone 5-1 under interim manager Pete Mackanin, who took over when Jerry Narron was fired. Arizona has lost five straight and eight of nine overall.
Edwin Encarnacion drew a leadoff walk from Jose Valverde (0-2) in the 11th and stole second. David Ross also walked and Norris Hopper grounded into a forceout at second, bringing up Hatteberg.
Kirk Saarloos (1-4) induced a double play that scuttled an Arizona threat in the top of the 11th.
Astros 8, Mets 3
HOUSTON – Roy Oswalt tossed seven effective innings and Chris Burke hit a two-run homer for Houston.
A day after going 13 innings without a run in a 5-3, 17-inning loss to New York, the Astros scored early and often against Mets starter Dave Williams. They led 8-0 after four.
Oswalt (8-5) got his first victory since June 17 and has 106 wins since 2001 for the most in the majors in that span, surpassing Randy Johnson’s 105. He allowed three runs in seven innings.
Chris Burke went 2-for-4 with his second home run of the year.
Williams (0-1) gave up 10 hits and eight runs in just 3 1-3 innings.
Phillies 8, Rockies 4
DENVER – Shane Victorino hit a two-run homer, Jimmy Rollins had three hits – including two RBI singles – and Pat Burrell hit his 11th homer for Philadelphia.
Adam Eaton (8-5) won for the first time since June 11, going six innings and giving up four runs and eight hits. He also struck out three.
The Phillies did their good deed for the day in the seventh-inning delay, rescuing members of Colorado’s grounds crew from underneath the whipping tarp. A strong burst of wind caught hold of it as the crew tried to roll it over the infield.
Todd Helton and Kaz Matsui homered for the Rockies, whose five-game winning streak ended. Aaron Cook (5-6) lasted six innings, giving up a season-high 12 hits and allowing five runs.
Dodgers 9, Marlins 3
LOS ANGELES – Russell Martin hit a two-run homer, Andre Ethier added a three-run shot and Los Angeles avoided a sweep heading into the All-Star break.
The Dodgers had lost four in a row and seven of their last 11 before salvaging the finale of the three-game series.
Pitching on three days’ rest, Mark Hendrickson (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out six and walked one in ending a four-game losing skid. The left-hander started in place of Randy Wolf, who went on the 15-day disabled list July 4 because of left shoulder pain.
Scott Olsen (6-7) gave up three runs on five hits in one inning, struck out one and walked one – his shortest outing of the season. He left after 31 pitches because of a stiff back and is day-to-day.