Washington It would have been so tidy to say that Esteban Loaiza outpitched Pedro Martinez on the night an emotional Jose Vidro returned to the lineup.
But, no, the Washington Nationals like to take drama to the extreme. A three-run lead in the ninth was whittled down, with young All-Star closer Chad Cordero hanging on in his first appearance since blowing a big save on the road.
The Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets, 3-2, Tuesday night, and the emotion runneth over in the locker room once again after the team's 12th straight one-run victory.
"Another one-run game, man," said Vidro, shaking his head with a big smile. "What excitement."
Vidro was the most spirited of all. The three-time All-Star - the rock of so many bad Expos teams of years past - was activated from the injured list earlier in the day after missing 54 games because of an ankle he injured while sliding at home plate. He rejoined a team that has become baseball's biggest surprise, winner of 10 of 12 and the NL East leader midway through the season.
Vidro slid at home plate again Tuesday, scoring what turned out to be the decisive run in the seventh inning, then nearly choked up when he got to the dugout.
"I tried to get my legs up, my knee up, so that I wouldn't get anything stuck out there," said Vidro, describing the slide. "But it was so exciting. You don't know how much this means to me. I almost cried. I'm not going to lie. I was so emotional. I love this game. I love to be out there, put my uniform on."
For much of the evening, the game was a tense battle between Loaiza and Martinez (9-3), who allowed three runs, eight hits, walked one and struck out six before leaving for a pinch-hitter after seven innings.
Braves 5, Cubs 1
Atlanta - Rookie Roman Colon outpitched Greg Maddux in his much-anticipated return to Atlanta. Colon (1-4), making only his third career start, gave up seven hits and one run in seven innings. Maddux (7-6), making his first appearance in Atlanta since leaving the Braves to sign with the Cubs following the 2003 season, allowed eight hits and five runs in six innings.
Pirates 3, Phillies 0
Pittsburgh - Kip Wells pitched a four-hitter in his third career complete game and started a three-run Pittsburgh fifth inning with a double. Jason Bay hit a two-run homer, and Matt Lawton added a run-scoring double to support Wells (6-8). The Phillies lost their 12th in 16 games and got a big scare in the first when Jose Castillo's hit a liner off right-hander Jon Lieber's right elbow. X-rays did not reveal any broken bones.
Brewers 6, Marlins 4
Miami - Russell Branyan, in the lineup for the first time since breaking a finger June 1, had three hits and two RBIs. Geoff Jenkins added three hits and three runs for Milwaukee.
Astros 6, Padres 2
Houston - Brandon Backe ended a personal three-game losing streak, and Jason Lane hit a three-run homer as the Astros won for the sixth time in seven games.
Rockies 6, Dodgers 1
Denver - Todd Helton tied the Colorado franchise record for home runs, and Jeff Francis pitched another fine game at Coors Field. Helton's two-run homer in the seventh was the 258th of his career.
Cardinals 7, D'backs 1
Phoenix - Albert Pujols drove in two runs with three hits - including a double and his 22nd homer - to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Pujols, who had a 30-game hitting streak in 2003, also hit in 17 in a row as a rookie in 2001.
Reds 6, Giants 3
San Francisco - Wily Mo Pena hit a go-ahead single in the sixth inning and drove in two runs, and Cincinnati won consecutive road games for the first time all season. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer, and Sean Casey had three hits.