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A new Day dawning in Washington

Zach Day allowed just three hits over seven innings, Jose Vidro delivered a two-run homer, and the Nationals beat the struggling Atlanta Braves, 2-0, last night in Washington.

The Nationals ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-1 against Atlanta, which has won 13 straight NL division titles -- the first three (1991-93) when it was in the West. The Braves have lost six of eight -- and they've scored a total of just six runs in the last five games.

Day (1-1) let only three runners reach second and the Braves went 0 for 3 with men in scoring position while the righthander was on the mound, failing to take advantage of his four walks.

Luis Ayala pitched the eighth and Chad Cordero put runners on first and second in the ninth before fanning Brian Jordan and Andruw Jones to finish the five-hitter and earn his third save.

Dodgers 3, Padres 1 -- Jose Valentin hit a two-run triple with two outs in the 10th inning to give visiting Los Angeles its eighth straight win.

The Dodgers, who have the best record in the majors at 12-2, matched the best start in franchise history. The 1940 and '55 Dodgers, then based in Brooklyn, also opened 12-2.

Marlins 9, Mets 2 -- Juan Encarnacion homered and drove in four runs to help Florida win its rematch with Aaron Heilman by beating visiting New York.

Heilman (1-2), who pitched an improbable one-hit shutout against Florida last Friday, gave up 11 hits and left after four innings trailing, 7-0.

The Mets managed just four hits off Josh Beckett (3-1) one night after hitting a team-record seven homers at Philadelphia.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 1 -- Carlos Zambrano came within one out of a complete game and drove in a run with his first career triple, helping visiting Chicago end St. Louis's five-game winning streak.

Albert Pujols hit his fourth home run for the Cardinals, who were shackled by Zambrano (2-0). The righthander allowed just one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out three.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1 -- Javier Vazquez pitched seven scoreless innings and Diamondbacks handed Noah Lowry the first loss of his major league career at San Francisco.

Reds 6, Pirates 4 -- Wily Mo Pena hit two homers, including a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh that sent Cincinnati past visiting Pittsburgh, mired in its worst start since 1995.

Astros 6, Brewers 1 -- Adam Everett and Craig Biggio led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back homers and Roy Oswalt outpitched an ill Ben Sheets to lead host Houston over Milwaukee.

Rockies 7, Phillies 4 -- Rookie Clint Barmes had four hits and made a diving catch to preserve the lead as Colorado stopped a 10-game road losing streak that dated to last season.

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