Ryan Howardâ€™s tying homer in the ninth helped the Phillies complete a memorable comeback. Paul Bakoâ€™s single gave Philadelphia an 8-7 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night, giving them wins in eight of their past nine games. The Phillies trailed 7-3 before pinch-hitter Matt Stairs led off the ninth with a homer off Matt Capps (1-5). Jimmy Rollins walked and stole second, his third steal of the game, and Chase Utley followed with a one-out single to left. Howard followed Utley by blasting a 1-0 pitch to tie the game at 7. Raul Ibanez, playing in his first game after missing 20 with a groin injury, then hit a ground-rule double to center. After an intentional walk to Jayson Werth and an infield single by Pedro Feliz, Bako lined a 2-2 pitch to left, sending a crowd that included Vice President Joe Biden home happy. Tyler Walker(1-0) pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, lasted six innings while allowing five runs on seven hitsâ€”all extra-base hits. The left-hander has allowed at least seven hits in six of his last seven starts and is 1-3 in that stretch. Pittsburgh starter Ross Ohlendorf held the Phillies to five hits while allowing three runs and striking out five. The right-hander matched his career high with four walks.
With one day to go until the All-Star break, the second-place Marlins fell four games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. Florida opens the second half of the season with a four-game series against the Phillies in Miami. Although he has pitched well lately, Garland (5-8) had gone nine starts without a victory and won for the first time since May 19â€”also against Florida. The Diamondbacks entered 8-16 against left-handed starters but jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first against Sean West (3-4). All-Star Justin Upton matched a career high with four hits, Jon Garland allowed one run in eight innings and the Diamondbacks beat the Florida Marlins 5-1 on Saturday night.
Jurrjens pitched six strong innings and singled twice for his first career multihit game to drive in a run and score another, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on Saturday night. Jurrjens (7-7) won for just the second time in his last eight starts. He had taken five losses in that span, including four in which he received two or fewer runs in offensive support. Rafael Soriano, the last of five Braves pitchers, allowed a bloop single to Seth Smith to start the ninth inning but then struck out the side for his 12th save in 13 opportunities. Colorado starter Jason Marquis (11-6) went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits but was denied in his bid for a major league-leading 12th win.
Francoeur had a two-run single in his Mets debut and Johan Santana pitched seven sharp innings, leading New York to a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. Santana (10-7) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one, taking advantage of some rare run support. New York scored seven runs in the left-handerâ€™s previous five starts. While the Mets were all smiles, the Reds had a rough night. Johnny Cueto (8-6) turned in another shaky start, and right fielder Jay Bruce broke his right wrist trying to make a sliding catch. Cueto gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings, dropping to 2-3 with a 7.31 ERA in his last six starts. It was the right-handerâ€™s first game since he allowed a career-high nine runs while recording just two outs in a 22-1 loss at Philadelphia. Bruce went down when he rushed in trying to grab David Wrightâ€™s blooper in the first inning. He got his glove on the ball, but it came out as his wrist folded back awkwardly.
Stammen (2-4) gave up nine hits in his first complete game and Washingtonâ€™s fourth this season. He threw only 107 pitches, taking more chances with Houstonâ€™s hitters because of the lopsided score. Houston starter Mike Hampton (5-6) gave up nine hits in 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He pored over a video replay of his performance and didnâ€™t think he pitched that poorly. Nick Johnson, Josh Willingham and Dunn homered in consecutive at-bats and the Nationals set season highs for hits and runs. Washington had three straight shots for the first time since the franchise relocated from Montreal in 2005 and the 21 hits were the most since the move.