BOSTON – Kevin Millar’s two-run single in the ninth inning lifted Baltimore to a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox, snapping the Orioles’ nine-game losing streak at Fenway Park.

Miguel Tejeda and Jay Gibbons led off the ninth with singles off Mike Timlin (6-6). After a fielder’s choice and passed ball put runners at second and third, Millar hit a ball off the Green Monster to give the Orioles the lead.

Chris Ray (4-4) pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for the victory, Baltimore’s third in 17 games against Boston this season.

Manny Ramirez went 2-for-3 with a home run and Carlos Pena was 2-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning for the Red Sox, who dropped to third place in the AL East. Toronto, which beat the New York Yankees 6-5 earlier in the day, took over sole possession of second.

Ramirez, making his first start since Sept. 9, hit his 470th career homer and first since Aug. 19.

Tim Wakefield, looking for his first win since July 6 against Tampa Bay, allowed three runs in six innings. He remained 0-3 since coming off the disabled list after missing nearly two months with a stress fracture in his rib cage.

Adam Loewen allowed four runs on three hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings for Baltimore. He didn’t allow a hit until Pena singled to right with one out in the fifth to load the bases.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2

SAN FRANCISCO – Greg Maddux pitched Los Angeles back into the playoffs, outpitching star rookie Matt Cain, hit a single and even stole a base as the Dodgers won their sixth straight game, beating the San Francisco Giants 4-2.

Los Angeles and San Diego both clinched postseason berths and were tied for the division lead heading into the final day. The Padres have the tiebreaker and will win the division if the teams remain tied after Sunday’s games.

Maddux (15-14) allowed three hits and two runs, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in seven strong innings.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX – David Wells’ first victory since he was traded to San Diego a month ago put the Padres in the playoffs for the second straight year.

The 43-year-old left-hander, who missed his previous start with gout in his right foot, threw six scoreless innings and Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer to power San Diego. Wells (1-2) allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one in his first victory in eight outings.

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his NL-leading 45th save as the Padres’ win clinched consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2

ST. LOUIS – Pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio hit a bases-loaded triple with two outs in the eighth inning and St. Louis cut its magic number for clinching the NL Central to one.

The Cardinals won for only the third time in 11 games, putting them on the verge of their third straight division title.

Albert Pujols singled for his second hit to lead off the eighth against Jose Capellan and went to third on Scott Rolen’s double with one out. Spiezio had been 1-for-20 as a left-handed pinch-hitter before clearing the bases on an 1-2 pitch from closer Francisco Cordero.

Phillies 4, Marlins 3

MIAMI – Philadelphia overcame an early deficit and nursed a one-run lead through the final seven innings to beat Florida.

Tom Gordon pitched around a one-out double in the ninth, retiring Dan Uggla on a 420-foot fly that Shane Victorino caught in center field for the final out.

Philadelphia began the day trailing NL West co-leaders Los Angeles and San Diego in the wild-card race, and were eliminated when both the Dodgers and Padres won later.

Astros 5, Braves 4

ATLANTA – Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro’s single drove in the tiebreaking run as the Houston Astros scored three times in the ninth inning and held on to beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 and preserve their playoff hopes.

Andy Pettitte, moved up one day in the rotation, allowed only four hits in seven innings.

He left with a 2-1 lead, but Adam LaRoche hit reliever Trever Miller’s first pitch in the eighth inning for a game-tying home run to right field.

Brad Ausmus’ sharp grounder off Braves closer Bob Wickman (0-2) bounced past second baseman Marcus Giles for the first error. Pinch-hitter Chris Burke followed with an infield single to third base, and Ausmus advanced to third on Chipper Jones’ throw to first.

Palmeiro’s single to right drove in Ausmus for a 3-2 lead. Palmeiro was forced out at second on Mike Lamb’s fielder’s choice grounder. Lance Berkman followed with a grounder to Edgar Renteria, whose throw to second base sailed into right field as Burke scored from third and Lamb scored from first. All three runs in the inning were unearned.

Miller (2-3) gave up one run in one inning. Dan Wheeler gave up RBI singles to Brian McCann and Daryle Ward before striking out LaRoche for his ninth save in 12 chances.

Berkman and Aubrey Huff homered for Houston, which faces another must-win game Sunday. However, the Astros also need a loss by St. Louis to preserve their playoff hopes.

After the Cardinals beat Milwaukee 3-2 earlier Saturday, Houston had to beat Atlanta to avoid being eliminated from the NL Central Division race. Houston is 11/2 games behind St. Louis.

If Houston wins and St. Louis loses Sunday, the Cardinals would be forced to play a makeup game against San Francisco Monday. A St. Louis loss in that game would force a one-game playoff between the Astros and Cardinals for the division title.

Following Friday night’s game, manag


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.