AP, DENVER, COLORADO
Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer and Jason Giambi had a two-run double in a five-run third inning, helping the Colorado Rockies to a 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday for their seventh straight victory in the National League.
The NL wild card leaders increased their cushion to four-and-a-half games over idle San Francisco and crept within two games of first-place Los Angeles in the NL West. The Dodgers also had the day off.
By sweeping four games from the Reds, the Rockies wrapped up a 9-1 homestand — one of their best in franchise history. Next, Colorado embarks on a nine-game road trip that includes three in San Francisco.
NATIONALS 8, PHILLIES 7
At Washington, Ian Desmond homered and drove in four runs in his major league debut and Livan Hernandez pitched effectively into the eighth inning as Washington held off Philadelphia.
Adam Dunn hit his 36th homer for the Nationals, who gave up five runs in the ninth before Ron Villone got Ryan Howard to ground into a game-ending double play with runners at the corners. Moments earlier, Matt Stairs snapped an 0-for-30 skid with a pinch-hit grand slam.
Philadelphia’s lead in the NL East was cut to five games over Florida. The Phillies had won nine straight against Washington.
The last-place Nationals won for only the second time in 12 games overall.
Hernandez (8-10), signed by Washington on Aug. 25 after he was released by the New York Mets, broke a five-game losing streak.
Reliever Villone earned his first save this season.
Joe Blanton (9-7) gave up eight runs in 4 2-3 innings, ending his streak of 11 straight quality starts.
MARLINS 13, METS 4
At New York, Nick Johnson drove in four runs and Florida beat the listless Mets to gain ground on Philadelphia in the NL East.
Hanley Ramirez and Cody Ross each had three hits and two RBIs for the Marlins, who completed their first sweep of the Mets since taking four straight from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, 2004, in New York. Dan Uggla hit his 27th homer and Florida wrapped up a 5-1 road trip.
The Mets (62-78) fell 16 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 71-91 in 2004. Bobby Parnell (3-8) walked five in five ineffective innings.
Burke Badenhop (7-4) pitched two innings for the win.
BRAVES 9, ASTROS 7
At Houston, Texas, Garret Anderson drove in three runs and Nate McLouth homered as the Atlanta Braves broke out of their offensive slump with a win over Roy Oswalt and the Astros.
Brian McCann had four hits and two RBIs for the Braves, who chased the Astros’ ace after two innings and finished with 16 hits, two shy of their season high.
Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer for the Astros, who lost for the third time in pitcher Oswalt’s last 13 starts.
The Braves had averaged 1.67 runs and batted .153 in their previous six games, but led 3-0 after 12 pitches from Oswalt (8-6).
AP, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Alex Gordon and Alberto Callaspo nailed home runs to lead the last-place Kansas City Royals past the Detroit Tigers 7-4 for a surprising three-game sweep of the American League Central leaders on Thursday.
It was the first three-game sweep of an AL team at home this season for the Royals. They’ve won four straight overall for the first time since June 16.
The Tigers rolled into town on Tuesday on a six-game winning streak, while the Royals had dropped four in a row. But beginning with Bruce Chen on Tuesday, the Royals proceeded to win with three straight spot starters.