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Carpenter first to win 18 games

Chris Carpenter became the major leagues' first 18-game winner and Albert Pujols hit his 34th home run last night as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pirates, 8-3, in Pittsburgh.

Carpenter (18-4) is 10-0 in his last 13 starts, all St. Louis victories. He allowed three runs and four hits in eight innings, improving to 10-0 on the road.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa tied Sparky Anderson for third place on baseball's managerial wins list with his 2,194th career victory. Only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) have won more games.

David Eckstein had three hits and John Rodriguez homered and drove in three runs for St. Louis, which jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. The Cardinals have won 16 of the last 19 meetings against the Pirates.

Padres 7, Astros 4 -- Trevor Hoffman earned his 425th save to take sole possession of second place on the career list and host San Diego beat Houston to climb back to .500.

Hoffman broke a tie with John Franco, pitching the ninth for his 32d save in 34 chances. Brian Giles led the San Diego offense with three hits and two RBIs.

The West-leading Padres took two of three from the Astros, who fell 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race.

Phillies 7, Giants 4 -- Bobby Abreu had three hits and drove in two runs, and Philadelphia dropped host San Francisco.

Robinson Tejeda, moved to the bullpen until Philadelphia needs a fifth starter in early September, pitched two scoreless innings for the victory after starter Cory Lidle left in the fifth with a strained left side muscle.

Mets 18, Diamondbacks 4 -- In Phoenix, David Wright and Mike Jacobs both hit two homers, and Jacobs and Jose Reyes each had four RBIs as New York pounded Arizona for a second straight game.

New York, which beat the Diamondbacks, 14-1, Tuesday night, set season highs for hits (20) and runs in their third straight win and seventh in nine games. The Mets also broke their team record with 13 extra-base hits.

Braves 3, Cubs 1 -- Rafael Furcal hit a two-out, two-run single in the seventh, and Atlanta rallied to win in Chicago.

Rockies 2, Dodgers 1 -- Aaron Miles and Matt Holliday hit run-scoring doubles in the eighth to snap a scoreless tie, and Colorado edged Los Angeles for its 15th road victory of the season.

Nationals 5, Reds 3 -- John Patterson scattered 10 hits over 8 1/3 innings, working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh, to lead host Washington.

Brewers 6, Marlins 4 -- Rookie Rickie Weeks drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the sixth inning and host Milwaukee took advantage of four Florida errors.

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