MIAMI – Dontrelle Willis became the first eight-game winner in the National League, and Carlos Delgado and Miguel Cabrera hit consecutive homers Monday night to carry the Florida Marlins to their season-high fifth straight victory with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Willis (8-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings, bouncing back from his only loss of the year. The left-hander won his first seven starts before getting roughed up last Tuesday.

Reds 5, Nationals 3

CINCINNATI – Slumping Jason LaRue had three hits off Esteban Loaiza, including a solo homer, and the Cincinnati Reds recovered from the shock of losing closer Danny Graves by beating the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Monday night.

A few hours before the game, the Reds designated their career saves leader for assignment, abruptly ending his eight-year stay in Cincinnati. Dumbfounded players sat by their lockers and stared at the floor.

Indians 2, Twins 1

CLEVELAND – Victor Martinez’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning off J.C. Romero sent the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 2

ST. LOUIS – Chris Carpenter allowed four hits in seven innings, and Albert Pujols’ two-run double in the sixth helped the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 10th straight time with a 4-2 victory.

Brewers 2, Rockies 1

MILWAUKEE – Chris Capuano allowed three hits in 8 1-3 innings, matching his longest career outing, and the Milwaukee Brewers sent the Colorado Rockies to their 27th loss in 31 road games with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Cubs 4, Astros 1

CHICAGO – Corey Patterson and Jeromy Burnitz homered to back a strong outing by Glendon Rusch, and the Chicago Cubs beat the struggling Houston Astros 4-1.

Braves 8, Mets 6

ATLANTA – Marcus Giles hit a three-run homer, Rafael Furcal had a bases-loaded triple as the Atlanta Braves posted an 8-6 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.

Bouncing back from a dismal road trip, the Braves kept their lead when David Wright was called out for sliding too far out of the baseline while trying to break up a double play.

Two runs scored as Furcal’s relay throw deflected off the glove of pitcher Chris Reitsma, who was covering first. The scoreboard even showed the game tied at 7.

But second base umpire Jeff Nelson signaled a double play because of Wright’s wide slide into Furcal. Television replays backed up the call, showing the runner sliding late and at least 3 feet wide of the bag in an attempt to disrupt Furcal.

Wright argued the call vehemently, getting tossed when he threw his helmet. He homered and drove in three runs, but it’s been a rough couple of days for the Mets’ young third baseman.

On Sunday, his eighth-inning error opened the door for the New York Yankees to rally for a 5-3 win over their crosstown rivals.

Horacio Ramirez (3-3) pitched seven innings and drew a bases-loaded walk that sparked the Braves. Dan Kolb, briefly demoted from the closer’s job last week after several poor outings, was booed when he came on in the ninth but managed his 11th save in 14 chances.

Kolb gave up a leadoff homer to Chris Woodward, then struck out Mike Cameron with runners at second and third to end it. Kolb got all three outs on strikeouts.

Kazuhisa Ishii retired the first five Atlanta hitters before running into two-out trouble in the second. Raul Mondesi and Brayan Pena hit back-to-back singles, each moving up a base on Wright’s wild throw into the Atlanta dugout for an error.

The Mets decided to walk Wilson Betemit intentionally, hoping to get out of the mess against Ramirez. But Ishii (0-3) fell behind with three straight balls, and just missed the inside corner with a 3-2 pitch.

Ishii ran the count full on Furcal, as well – and would have been better off throwing another ball. Instead, he left a pitch over the plate that Furcal lined to the wall in right-center, clearing the bases to give the Braves a 4-1 lead.

Cameron homered in the fourth as the Mets pulled to 4-3, but Giles restored a comfortable margin in the bottom half. Again, Ishii couldn’t make the key two-out pitch. With two runners aboard, Giles lined a 2-0 pitch into the right-field seats for just his second homer of the season.

Ishii lasted only four innings, giving up seven hits and seven runs. The Braves added an unearned run off Mike DeJean in the eighth.

Wright homered in the second, to go along with an RBI single and bases-loaded walk. But the Braves managed to get back on track after a 4-8 road trip – in which Kolb struggled and four players went on the disabled list.

Gold Glover Andruw Jones nearly made a brilliant catch on Wright’s homer. The center fielder drifted back to the wall, timed his leap perfectly and appeared to have the ball in his glove. In fact, the music that accompanies a great defensive play began blaring through Turner Field while Jones looked at his empty glove in disbelief.

Notes: Pena made his major league debut, going 1-for-4. He was called up from Triple-A Richmond last week when backup C Eddie Perez went on the DL with a sore shoulder. … Mets catcher Mike Piazza was rested. He struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. New York CF Carlos Beltran was still out with a strained quadriceps.

AP-ES-05-23-05 2242EDT


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