Victory Over Florida Extends Braves' Lead

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves gained some breathing room in the NL East, beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 when Danny Bautista's bases-loaded sacrifice fly brought home the winning run in the ninth.


The Marlins, who have an 8-4 advantage over the NL champions this year, departed Atlanta on Monday 5 1/2 games behind the Braves after splitting a four-game series contested in a playoff-like atmosphere at Turner Field.


Felix Heredia (4-2) walked Ryan Klesko to lead off the ninth, Mark Lemke bunted the runner over and Javy Lopez was walked intentionally. Jay Powell then walked Tony Graffanino walked to load the bases, and Bautista flied to right fielder Gary Sheffield, whose throw to the plate was high.


Atlanta's Greg Maddux, in his first start since signing a five-year, $57.5 million contract extension Sunday, allowed five hits and one run over eight innings. Mark Wohlers (4-4) pitched the ninth for the victory.


Astros 8, Mets 3. In New York, Jeff Bagwell, whose support helped Pete Harnisch come back from clinical depression, homered and doubled off his friend as Houston beat New York for its third straight victory.


Harnisch (0-1) struggled in his second start for the Mets since coming back from the illness. He allowed eight runs and 10 hits -- seven for extra bases -- in only 4 2/3 innings.


Bagwell hit his 32nd homer in the first inning. New York's Todd Hundley and Carl Everett homered off Astros starter Ramon Garcia (5-8).


Dodgers 2, Cubs 1. In Los Angeles, Chan Ho Park, coming off the worst outing of his career, pitched a four-hitter.


Park (11-6), the first Korean-born pitcher in the majors, allowed only one runner as far as second base in the first seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one in getting his first complete game in 33 starts.


Park lost a bid for his first shutout when former Dodger Dave Hansen hit a pinch homer in the eighth inning.


The Cubs, whose 0.276 winning percentage on the road (16-42) is the worst in the majors, set a season-high with their ninth consecutive loss away from Wrigley Field. Miguel Batista (0-1) took the loss.


Expos 6, Padres 3. In San Diego, rookie Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the sixth inning snapped a tie.


Henry Rodriguez added a three-run homer and David Segui had a solo shot for Montreal, which is 8-2 vs. San Diego this season.


Guerrero hit his seventh homer off Joey Hamilton (10-4), a 443-foot (135-meter) shot to center in the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Rodriguez chased Hamilton in the seventh inning with his 24th homer, giving Montreal a 6-1 lead.


Dustin Hermanson (7-5) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings against his former team.


(For other results, see Scorecard.)