Atlanta Cliff Floyd says it's far too early for the Florida Marlins to start making reservations for October.
"The big thing with us is that everyone's on the same level," said Floyd, a bench player for the Marlins' 1997 World Series champions and the club's premier slugger now. "We're in a fortunate situation in that the guys we have are experiencing this for the first time."
Floyd hit a grand slam and Kevin Millar had three RBIs as the Florida beat Atlanta, 12-2, Tuesday night for their season-high fifth straight victory.
Florida, winning for the 10th time in 13 games, moved into a second-place tie with Atlanta in the NL East 312 games behind of first-place Philadelphia.
"Getting that first win relaxed us," Floyd said of the Marlins' ability to erase a five-run deficit in a 7-6 victory Monday. "Doing that against a good team means a lot. This is a big series. This is a big step for us."
The Braves, after going 18-7 from May 15-June 12, have lost five of six.
Chuck Smith (4-2) won his first start since May 22, when he beat the Braves 3-2 in Miami. The right-hander, who gave up only a sacrifice fly to Javy Lopez in the second and an RBI single to Quilvio Veras in the seventh, improved to 3-0 in three starts against Atlanta.
"All I had to do was throw strikes tonight because our hitters were focused and locked in," Smith said. "We wanted to make the Braves work if they were going to win. In this clubhouse, we don't even worry about the Braves. We just want to worry about playing to our level."
Smith allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out four in seven innings. He had gone 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in his three previous starts.
Atlanta center fielder Andruw Jones couldn't give a particular reason why Smith has succeeded against his team.
"He just pitches good against the Braves," Jones said. "You have pitchers that do that. He was throwing changeups and sliders. His ball moved a lot."
Jones thinks Atlanta will turn itself around soon.
"We're not worried about who's behind us or who's ahead of us," he said. "We just have to go out and play our game and forget about that. We have to make adjustments and start playing better baseball. This is just two games. You don't know how things are going to do. Sometimes you just have to click right. We're back home after a good road trip and we're not playing well."
Floyd led off the third with a double to increase his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. Floyd's sixth-inning grand slam, the second of his career, came off rookie Joe Nelson to make it 11-1.
Mets 4, Expos 1
New York Troy Mattes pitched seven scoreless innings in his major league debut before New York rallied for four runs in the eighth against Montreal's bullpen. Mattes, called up from Triple-A Ottawa earlier in the day, retired the first 14 batters, and left with a 1-0 lead after allowing just two hits. But relievers Guillermo Mota (1-1), Graeme Lloyd and Ugueth Urbina hurt by three errors in the eighth allowed the Mets to come back for their third straight victory.
Pirates 8, Phillies 5
Pittsburgh Jason Kendall, refusing to sit out even after getting a painkilling shot in his injured thumb, had three hits and drove in three runs as Pittsburgh had a season-high 17 hits against slumping Philadelphia. Derek Bell added a two-run homer as the Pirates, who have the NL's worst record at 24-43, won their fourth straight and dealt the first-place Phillies their eighth loss in 11 games.
Brewers 10, Reds 8
Cincinnati Jeromy Burnitz's three-run homer started a barrage off Reds newcomer Jose Acevedo, and Milwaukee deepened Cincinnati's home misery. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his first home run of an injury-marred season, a solo shot for the Reds in the sixth inning.
Cardinals 3, Cubs 2
St. Louis Fernando Vina's bunt single against Kyle Farnsworth (0-2) snapped a seventh-inning tie as St. Louis beat Chicago for the 13th straight time at home. Matt Morris (9-4) allowed an unearned run in seven innings and singled in the seventh for the Cardinals, who haven't lost to the Cubs at Busch Stadium since Oct. 2, 1999. St. Louis has won eight in a row at home overall and has a five-game overall winning streak, and narrowed the Cubs' NL Central lead to four games.
Astros 6, Rockies 4
Houston Rookie Roy Oswalt pitched 623 strong innings before leaving with a bruised right forearm. Oswalt (5-1) allowed three runs and three hits, striking out eight. He left in the seventh after being hit by Ben Petrick's line drive. X-rays were negative.
Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2
Los Angeles Luis Gonzalez homered twice and drove in six runs, and Randy Johnson pitched seven strong innings as Arizona beat Los Angeles. Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Darren Dreifort (4-6), then added a three-run shot against Jesse Orosco in the eighth.