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NL ROUNDUP

Giants win, tie Astros in wild race

Jerome Williams pitched seven strong innings in his first start in two months and the San Francisco Giants jumped back into a tie for the wild-card lead by beating the Padres, 4-1, last night in San Diego.

The Giants (89-70) tied the idle Houston Astros in the wild-card race, one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs (88-71), who were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

San Francisco remained three games behind the West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (92-67), who rallied to beat Colorado, 4-2, in 11 innings. The Giants and Dodgers end the season with three games this weekend in Los Angeles and the Giants need a sweep to force a one-game playoff, which would be played Monday in San Francisco.

The Padres, playing their home finale, were pushed to the brink of elimination, falling three games back in the wild-card race with three to play.

Barry Bonds beat out an infield single in the eighth, making him 1 for 10 in the series. With runners on first and second and two outs in the fifth, Bonds hit a high fly to center that Jay Payton caught on the warning track.

Ray Durham homered off Adam Eaton (11-14) leading off the four-run fourth. The Padres committed two errors that inning, leading to three unearned runs.

Reds 2, Cubs 1 -- Javier Valentin doubled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 12th and Cincinnati played spoiler again, sending Chicago to defeat at Wrigley Field.

Chicago lost for the fifth time in six games, including back-to-back 12-inning heartbreakers to the Reds. The Cubs also wasted a stellar outing by Mark Prior, who struck out 16 in nine innings.

Adam Dunn, who earlier broke Bobby Bonds's major league record for strikeouts in a season when he fanned in his first two at-bats, singled in the 12th off Mike Remlinger (1-2). Dunn stole second and moved to third on a grounder before Valentin doubled to right off Kyle Farnsworth. Dunn has a major league single-season record of 190 whiffs, one more than Bonds in 1970.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 2 -- Light-hitting David Ross hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 11th and host Los Angeles beat Colorado to clinch no worse than a tie for the West title.

Ross, batting just .169, hit a 2-and-1 pitch from Steve Reed over the left-field wall after Alex Cora was hit by a pitch from Brian Fuentes (2-4). It was Ross's first at-bat of the game and his fifth homer of the year.

Elsewhere -- Matt Morris struggled in his final tuneup for the playoffs, and Milwaukee won, 7-6, in St. Louis to send the Central champions to their first four-game losing streak of the season . . . Pat Burrell went 4 for 4, including a tiebreaking two-run single in Philadelphia's six-run seventh, helping the Phillies rally for a 7-4 win over the visiting Florida Marlins.

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