Two swings by Larry Walker ruined Kevin Millwood's eight innings of dominance.
Walker's second homer of the game, a three-run shot off John Rocker in the ninth inning, lifted the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 victory over Millwood and the Atlanta Braves yesterday in Denver.
Walker, leading the league with a .360 average, hit his 32nd home run just inside the right field foul pole and raised his bat in triumph as he walked toward first base. He has four multihomer games this season.
"It was either the slider or the curveball, one of the two that definitely wasn't where he wanted to throw it," Walker said. "Once I hit it and the ball was halfway there. . . . I had a feeling it would stay fair."
The Braves began the day tied with New York for the NL East lead but lost their second straight low-scoring game at Coors Field. Colorado's 3-2 victory Tuesday night marked the fewest runs scored in Denver this season.
Rocker (3-4), who blew a save at Coors Field in April, took over to start the ninth and walked Neifi Perez and pinch hitter Terry Shumpert before Walker connected for his 23rd career multihomer game.
PHILLIES 6, CARDINALS 5: Mike Lieberthal hit a three-run homer in the eighth as visiting Philadelphia avoided a three-game sweep. Mark McGwire hit his 48th home run for St. Louis to move one ahead of Sammy Sosa for the major league lead. It was the 505th career homer for McGwire, who moved past Eddie Murray into 15th place on the all-time list.
GIANTS 5, EXPOS 4: In San Francisco, Barry Bonds and Charlie Hayes each hit two-run homers, leading Russ Ortiz to victory. Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero tripled to extend his hitting streak to 24 games.
PIRATES 12, REDS 6: Dale Sveum hit his first homer in two years. An inning later, he hit another. Sveum, relegated to catching in the Yankees' bullpen last season, batted cleanup and hit two of visiting Pittsburgh's five homers. The Reds fell out of first place in the NL Central for the first time in six days when Houston rallied to beat Milwaukee.
ASTROS 6, BREWERS 4: Carl Everett's two-run double highlighted a five-run rally in the eighth that lifted host Houston into first place in the NL Central. The Astros won their third straight game and Milwaukee dropped its fourth in a row. Houston moved one game ahead of Cincinnati.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, CUBS 1: Host Arizona swept three games from reeling Chicago for the second time in 10 days behind the pitching of Andy Benes and solo home runs by Erubiel Durazo and Steve Finley. The Cubs lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
DODGERS 7, MARLINS 0: Darren Dreifort pitched his first shutout at Dodger Stadium and Todd Hundley homered twice.
METS 9, PADRES 1: Masato Yoshii pitched a six-hitter and Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza each homered and drove in three runs as visiting New York regained sole possession of first place in the NL East.