Chicago Roger Clemens couldn't have done it much better.
Ezequiel Astacio, starting in place of the injured ace, allowed four hits in six innings Saturday, and the Houston Astros preserved their lead in the NL wild-card race with an 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Craig Biggio matched his career high with his 24th homer, a solo shot in the first inning, and drove in another run, and Lance Berkman also homered. It was the ninth victory in 11 games for Houston.
"I feel happy because I won, but more because the team won and we needed to win," said Astacio, who got his first victory since Aug. 3. "We've got to take care of our own business. If we don't do that, we could be sitting at home in a few weeks," Biggio said.
Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who officially were eliminated from playoff contention. Carlos Zambrano (14-6) gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 1â3 innings, snapping his career-best six-game winning streak.
Astacio was tapped to start after Clemens was scratched Friday because of a sore left hamstring.
Diamondbacks 8, Padres 5
Phoenix - Chad Tracy doubled in three runs in Arizona's five-run eighth, and the Diamondbacks rallied to beat San Diego.
Reds 3, Phillies 2
Cincinnati - Eric Milton rebounded from the shortest start of his eight-year career to beat his former team, and Adam Dunn backed him up with a two-run homer.
Braves 6, Marlins 1
Atlanta - Andruw Jones hit his major-league-leading 51st home run as Atlanta beat Florida. Atlanta (88-67) lowered its magic number for clinching the NL East to four and eliminated the Marlins from contention in the division.
Rockies 6, Giants 0
Denver - Sunny Kim shut down Barry Bonds and the rest of San Francisco, throwing a three-hitter for his first career shutout.
Brewers 8, Cardinals 7
Milwaukee - Chad Moeller hit a three-run homer, and Brady Clark added a two-run drive in a seven-run second.
Mets 5, Nationals 2
Washington - Tom Glavine carried a shutout into the sixth inning for his 274th career victory.
Pirates 8, Dodgers 3
Los Angeles - Oliver Perez pitched six strong innings to earn his first victory in more than three months.