Roy Halladay recorded a National League-best 19th victory of the season behind strong offensive support as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 10-5 on Wednesday.
Halladay (19-10) struck out nine, but allowed 10 hits and three runs over six innings.
“It wasn’t the prettiest,” Halladay told reporters. “From my standpoint I expect to do well every time I go out. My approach is the same.”
Having spent the first 12 years of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays before being traded to Philadelphia this past off-season, Halladay has high hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time.
The Phillies (86-61) stretched their NL East lead over the Atlanta Braves to three games with 15 to play.
Winners of eight of their last nine games, the streaking Phillies have also claimed six in a row over Florida (73-72) in a little more than a week.
Philadelphia scored nine runs in the first five innings to take a commanding 9-2 lead and were never threatened.
Raul Ibanez went 3-for-5 with a two-run double in the first and Chase Utley bombed a home run in the third.
Marlins starter Jorge Sosa lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs in the loss.
Florida’s offense pounded out 12 hits, but could not capitalize, going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Gaby Sanchez homered in the sixth and the home side had the bases loaded in the ninth, but only earned one run.
Giants 2, Dodgers 1
In San Francisco, Matt Cain pitched seven shutout innings to guide San Francisco past Los Angeles.
Cain (12-10) walked none and didn’t allow a runner to get past first base. Brian Wilson allowed a two-out homer in the ninth before getting his 43rd save in 47 chances.
Mike Fontenot broke a scoreless tie with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning. It was San Francisco’s first run of the series and ended a streak of 29 2/3 innings without an earned run against Chad Billingsley (11-10).
Billingsley allowed six hits in seven innings. He lost to San Francisco for the first time in five starts this season, but still has an 0.74 ERA against the Giants this year.
Cubs 7, Cardinals 3
In St Louis, Missouri Chicago beat the sliding Cardinals to complete their first three-game sweep in St Louis since 1988.
Carlos Zambrano (9-6) allowed only one earned run in six innings, improving to 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his past seven starts. He is 7-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 12 starts in St Louis.
Tyler Colvin hit a three-run homer for the Cubs.
Brewers 8, Astros 6, 10 innings
In Houston, Texas, Mat Gamel hit the go-ahead double in the 10th inning as Milwaukee beat Houston to avoid a series sweep.
With the game tied 6-6, Carlos Gomez singled off Matt Lindstrom (2-5), stole second and took third on an error. Gamel doubled in Gomez, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single.
Ryan Braun homered and drove in three runs for the Brewers, who led 5-0 then fell behind 6-5 in the ninth.
Milwaukee reliever John Axford (8-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
In other games it was:
• Rockies 9, Padres 6
• Nationals 4, Braves 2
• Reds 7, Diamondbacks 5
• Mets 8, Pirates 7
AP, ST PETERSBURG, Florida
The Tampa Bay Rays regained top spot in the seesawing race for the American League East crown by beating the New York Yankees 4-3 on Wednesday.
The teams with baseball’s top two records flip-flopped positions in the standings for the third straight night. The first two games of the series went to extra innings, with the Rays winning 1-0 on Monday and the Yankees regaining the division lead by a half-game with an 8-7 win on Tuesday.