Cincinnati Jason LaRue's one-out homer in the 11th inning powered the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 victory Tuesday night over the San Diego Padres and tightened the NL playoff race.
LaRue had an awkward swing-and-miss on the first pitch from Doug Brocail (2-2), then connected on the next pitch for his eighth homer. LaRue, batting only .180, got into the 3-hour, 34-minute game in the late innings.
Scott Schoeneweis (1-0) escaped a threat in the 10th to get the win, which moved Cincinnati 21â2 games behind San Diego for the NL wild card. The Reds won for only the fifth time in their last 16 games.
While the Padres were trying to protect their wild-card lead, the Reds opened a series that amounts to a last chance for them to elbow their way back into the chase.
Cincinnati moved within percentage points of first place in the NL Central on Aug. 24, when they also led the wild-card field. Their free fall since then dropped them to the back of the pack of contenders.
Sensing the importance of the series, the Reds offered half-price tickets and $1 hot dogs, hoping to draw big crowds. They sold only 15,820 tickets for the opener, which started on time after a daylong rain.
Both starters were out of the game after five innings, leaving it up to the bullpens.
Giants 10, Rockies 6
San Francisco - Pedro Feliz and Omar Vizquel each hit two-run doubles to rally San Francisco from a four-run deficit.
Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4
Phoenix - Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson's two-base throwing error cleared the way for Nook Logan's RBI single in the eighth inning.
Mets 6, Marlins 4
Miami - Carlos Delgado hit a tying, three-run homer in the eighth inning, and Cliff Floyd's RBI double put New York ahead to stay.
Cubs 9, Dodgers 8, 11 innings
Chicago - Cesar Izturis singled home the winning run with two outs in the 11th against his former team as Chicago overcame six errors and a 7-0 deficit to beat Los Angeles.
Cardinals 6, Astros 5
St. Louis - Albert Pujols touched up Brad Lidge for another big hit, this time a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning. Preston Wilson homered for the Cardinals, who have won the first two games of a three-game series against the third-place Astros, knocking them seven games back in the NL Central. St. Louis has a five-game lead over the Reds.