NL roundup: Cards find another way to win

CHICAGO (AP) " Chris Duncan atoned for some shoddy defense with a homer and three RBIs, and Yadier Molina drove in the go-ahead run that sent the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight and, perhaps more importantly, took the first of what will be 16 games against their longtime rivals.

Milton Bradley, who'd been on his best behavior since signing a $30 million contract with the Cubs, argued a called third strike as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and was ejected by umpire Larry Vanover.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (2-0) then escaped the jam by getting Alfonso Soriano to fly out, leaving the score tied at 4.

Padres 6, Mets 5

NEW YORK (AP) " Chase Headley tied a career high with four hits and San Diego beat New York to win the first regular-season series at Citi Field.

Jake Peavy settled down after allowing Carlos Delgado's long three-run homer in the first and surprising San Diego held on for its sixth win in seven games. Former Mets reliever Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five chances.

Delgado hit his third homer with one out in the first, sending a 3-0 pitch over a billboard hanging above the bullpens in right-center. Ramon Castro hit a two-run shot off former teammate Duaner Sanchez in the eighth but that was it for New York.

Peavy (2-1) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked four.

Nationals 8, Phillies 2

WASHINGTON (AP) " Adam Dunn hit one of Washington's four homers, Shairon Martis threw 6 1-3 solid innings, and the Nationals avoided setting a club record for most consecutive losses to start a season.

Washington is 1-7; in the franchise's two-city history, only this edition and the 1998 Montreal Expos opened 0-7, according to STATS LLC.

Martis (1-0) gave up two runs and five hits in by the far the most effective performance by any member of Washington's young starting rotation in 2009. Mike Hinckley, Joe Beimel and Joel Hanrahan followed with 2 2-3 innings of perfect relief.

Marlins 6, Braves 2

ATLANTA (AP) " Cody Ross hit a three-run homer to snap out of an early slump, and Florida finished off its first three-game sweep in Atlanta.

Ross finished with three hits and four RBIs after beginning the day with a .115 average, helping Florida (8-1) get off to its best start since opening the 1997 season with eight wins in the first nine games.

The Marlins outscored the Braves 21-7 in the series. Florida had never swept a series of more than two games in Atlanta, and the last time that happened was May 13-14, 1997.

Anibal Sanchez (1-0) gave up eight hits and two runs in six innings to give Kenshin Kawakami (1-1) his first loss. Kawakami allowed five hits and five runs, four earned, in six innings.

Astros 6, Pirates 3

PITTSBURGH (AP) " Lance Berkman made up for an earlier missed opportunity with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and Houston overcame an early two-run deficit to beat Pittsburgh.

Hunter Pence added a solo home run as the Astros won the final two games of the three-game series. Before that, they'd lost five straight during a 1-6 start, their worst in 25 seasons.

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