ATLANTA – Roger Clemens lost in what might have been the final start of his career, and the Atlanta Braves ended Houston’s nine-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory Friday night that hurt the Astros’ postseason hopes.

Houston’s run at one of baseball’s greatest late-season comebacks – the Astros trailed in the division by 8 games on Sept. 20 – was dealt another blow when first-place St. Louis beat Milwaukee 10-5, extending the Cardinals’ lead in the NL Central to 1 games.

With the score 1-1 in the sixth, first baseman Lance Berkman misplayed Chipper Jones grounder as Atlanta’s first run scored in a two-run inning. Edgar Renteria and Jones added consecutive homers off Fernando Nieve in the eighth.

Clemens (7-6), a 44-year-old right-hander who has won seven Cy Young Awards in a big league career that began in 1984, allowed two runs – one earned – and six hits in six innings. The Rocket dropped to 348-178 in his career, and with seven strikeouts he raised his total to 4,604, second only to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714.

An emotional Clemens pounded his leg and his glove as he walked off the field following the sixth inning.

The crowd of 31,034 rose in a standing ovation when Chris Burke was introduced as a pinch-hitter for Clemens in the seventh.

Jones, standing closest to the Astros’ dugout, joined in the ovation before Clemens emerged, tipping his cap to the fans and pointing his glove toward Jones.

Chuck James (11-4), a 24-year-old rookie left-hander, gave up one run and four hits in seven innings.

Cardinals 10, Brewers 5

ST. LOUIS – After nearly giving up all of their NL Central lead, the St. Louis Cardinals rebounded for a big win behind Jeff Weaver.

Weaver won for the first time in nine home starts since joining the Cardinals, and Albert Pujols and Preston Wilson homered Friday night in a 10-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Wilson hit a two-run homer in the second and Pujols added a three-run drive in a five-run third as St. Louis built an 8-1 lead against Chris Capuano (11-12).

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 2

NEW YORK – Gary Sheffield hit his first home run since returning from wrist surgery, a tiebreaking, three-run drive for New York.

Mike Mussina (15-7) tuned up for his start in Game 2 of the playoffs by allowing one run and two hits in six innings, Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer and Alex Rodriguez had three hits for the Yankees.

Sheffield, who had wrist surgery June 13, homered for the first time since April 26, ending a span of 68 homerless at-bats.

Reds 5, Pirates 2

PITTSBURGH – Aaron Harang pitched an eight-hitter for his league-leading sixth complete game for Cincinnati, which kept its slim postseason hopes alive.

Rich Aurilia homered and drove in three runs for the Reds, who have won five of six. Norris Hopper had two hits and scored two runs.

Royals 9, Tigers 7

DETROIT – Emil Brown and Paul Phillips led off the 11th inning with homers and Jeff Keppinger followed with a two-run shot to lift Kansas City to a 9-7 victory over Detroit.

Detroit remained tied with Minnesota atop the AL Central with two games left, but the Tigers have the tiebreaker because they won the season series 11-8.

White Sox 4, Twins 3

MINNEAPOLIS – Freddy Garcia pitched 7 1-3 strong innings and Jermaine Dye and Alex Cintron homered for the White Sox, the defending World Series champions who had lost nine of their previous 13 games to fall out of contention.

Garcia (17-9) allowed one run and five hits and Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 41st save in 45 chances.

Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run double in the ninth off Jenks to cut it to 4-3. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs but Jenks struck out Phil Nevin to end the game.

Indians 2, Devil Rays 1

CLEVELAND – Jhonny Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk off Seth McClung with one out in the ninth inning to the Cleveland the win.

Tampa Bay, which went 41-40 at home, dropped to 20-59 in away games and became the first team to lose 99 games and have winning record at home.

Peralta took a 3-2 pitch that was way inside as the Indians got the victory without having to swing or make contact in the ninth. Tampa Bay pitchers walked four in the ninth as the Devil Rays fell to 3-29 on the road since the All-Star break.

D-backs 3, Padres 1

PHOENIX (AP) – Livan Hernandez pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and Eric Byrnes hit his team-leading 26th homer in Arizona’s victory that prevented San Diego from clinching a playoff berth.

San Diego would clinch no worse than the wild-card spot with one more victory or a loss by Philadelphia.

Phillies 14, Marlins 2

MIAMI – Shane Victorino had five hits and Pat Burrell hit two homers for Philadelphia, which stayed in the NL wild-card race.

The victory came barely 12 hours after the Phils arrived at their team hotel following a second successive late-night finish in Washington. Thursday night’s 3-1 loss ended at 2:07 a.m., and the Phillies reached their team hotel in Fort Lauderdale at 8:20.

Philadelphia, which had 18 hits, closed within 11/2 games of wild-card leader Los Angeles, which played at San Francisco on Friday night.

Burrell hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, giving him 29 this year. That broke the Phils’ franchise record of 215 homers set in 2004.

Victorino had a career-high five hits by the sixth inning and finished 5-for-6, driving in three runs.

Jamie Moyer (5-2) allowed one run and left after five innings with a 13-1 lead, beating Florida for the third time this month.

Brian Moehler (7-11) gave up seven runs in 3 1-3 innings.

Mets 4, Nationals 3

WASHINGTON – Carlos Beltran and Paul Lo Duca each had two hits and an RBI, and Shawn Green drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth for New York.

Rookie starter John Maine, suddenly in the playoff mix with the loss of Pedro Martinez to injury, allowed two earned runs and three hits in six innings but didn’t factor in the decision.

Pedro Feliciano (7-2) pitched the seventh for the win, Guillermo Mota threw a perfect eighth, and Billy Wagner got the last three outs for his 40th save.

Rockies 5, Cubs 2

CHICAGO – Josh Fogg pitched seven strong innings and Colorado scored three runs in the sixth without a hit.

Fogg (11-9) allowed two runs and five hits. He walked none and struck out four.

Carlos Zambrano (16-7) gave up three hits – all singles in the third inning – walked four and struck out nine in seven innings. Only two of the four runs against him were earned.

Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth for his 30th save.

Colorado used an error, hit batsman, broken-bat infield out and three walks to break a 1-1 tie in the sixth. The first run scored on first baseman John Mabry’s error, the others when Troy Tulowitzki with a pitch with the bases loaded and on Chris Iannetta’s RBI-roller to first.


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