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Wells all right in return

He allows 1 run to spark Padres

David Wells pitched well in his return to his hometown, Josh Bard hit a bases-loaded single in the eighth to bring in the go-ahead run, and the San Diego Padres beat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1, yesterday to retain the National League wild-card lead.

The 43-year-old Wells was obtained Thursday from the Red Sox for a minor league prospect to be named, reportedly catcher George Kottaras. Wells didn't get the decision, although he held Cincinnati to one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked one.

``Today was special," said Wells. ``I was locked in and wanted to show these guys that the old man can still do it."

Cla Meredith (3-1), another former Red Sox pitcher, threw two scoreless innings for the win.

Wells also reached based twice, singling in the fifth. With the score tied at 1, he was easily thrown out trying to score, ending the inning.

Phillies, 8-7; Braves, 3-1 -- Ryan Howard homered in his first three at-bats, raising his major league-leading total to 52, and host Philadelphia rallied after wasting a five-run lead to beat Atlanta in a doubleheader split.

Atlanta kept Howard from going deep in the second game, winning in 11 innings after scoring the go-ahead run on catcher Carlos Ruiz's throwing error.

Howard's 50th home run was a solo shot in the second inning, and he followed with a two-run drive in the third. His third homer was an opposite-field, solo shot to left in the sixth that made it 6-1.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 3 -- Albert Pujols homered in his first three at-bats -- giving him 42 -- leading host St. Louis over Pittsburgh.

Pujols scored his 100th run on the third homer, giving him 100 or more in each of his six seasons. He's the only player in major league history to hit 30 homers, score 100 runs and bat .300 in his first five seasons, and he is batting .321 this year.

Yankees 10, Twins 1 -- Alex Rodriguez hit two homers and drove in five, and Triple A call-up Darrell Rasner pitched six impressive innings for his first major league win to lead host New York past Minnesota.

Bobby Abreu doubled three times, and Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano added three hits apiece for New York.

Astros 2, Mets 1 -- Roy Oswalt was perfect into the seventh inning and finished with 7 2/3 shutout innings as host Houston beat New York despite getting just one hit, scoring on a squeeze bunt by Adam Everett and a sacrifice fly by Jason Lane.

Royals 7, White Sox 3 -- Ryan Shealy and Angel Berroa each homered and drove in three runs, and Mark Redman pitched seven strong innings to lead host Kansas City.

Marlins 10, Brewers 3 -- Rookie Scott Olsen allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings, and visiting Florida scored seven runs in the eighth to extend Milwaukee's losing streak to 10 games.

Angels 2, Tigers 1 -- Kelvim Escobar gave up only an unearned run and Vladimir Guerrero homered to help visiting Los Angeles beat slumping Detroit, which has won just eight of its last 25 games.

Rockies 12, Dodgers 5 -- Matt Holliday homered to cap a six-run fifth and visiting Colorado snapped Los Angeles's seven-game winning streak.

Rangers 5, Indians 2 -- Kevin Millwood (14-9) allowed two hits and struck out a season-high 10 in eight innings, and Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer as host Texas ended Cleveland's five-game winning streak.

Giants 7, Cubs 4 -- Barry Bonds homered for the second straight game, giving him 729 for his career and moving him 26 behind Henry Aaron, as San Francisco beat Chicago at Wrigley Field.

Athletics 10, Orioles 1 -- Dan Johnson hit a grand slam in his first official at-bat back from the minors and host Oakland scored nine runs in the first inning against Hayden Penn in a rout of Baltimore.

Devil Rays 7, Mariners 6 -- Kevin Witt hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning, leading host Tampa Bay over Seattle.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 3 -- Austin Kearns hit a two-run double in a four-run eighth inning, lifting host Washington.

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