Having watched his team blow another lead, Mark McGwire wasn't in the mood to reflect on his latest brush with history.

McGwire hit his 51st home run last night, tying Sammy Sosa for the major league lead, but the Montreal Expos rallied to post an 8-4 victory over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

McGwire matched Lou Gehrig's record of 493 home runs by a first baseman. McGwire has hit 15 additional homers while playing other positions.

"I don't even know who's next and I don't really care," McGwire said. "It has no bearing on what I do that day. I'm paid to play the game, I'm not paid to look at history. That's the way I look at things."

McGwire hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a 435-foot shot to center field. He hit No. 51 in the Cardinals' 127th game; last year, he hit No. 51 in the 126th game and did not connect again until the 129th game.

"All my impressions of all that stuff will mean a lot when I'm retired," McGwire said.

Vladimir Guerrero extended his Montreal record hitting streak to 29 games, one behind Arizona's Luis Gonzalez for the longest in the majors this year.

The crowd of 17,142 topped the Expos' average of 9,595 at Olympic Stadium.

Jose Vidro's two-run single in the seventh drove in the tying and go-ahead runs for Montreal. The Expos added four runs in the eighth.

Vidro went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs. His two-out single off Kent Bottenfield (16-6) put the Expos ahead 4-3, and he also singled home a run in the eighth.

"I was very patient with that at-bat," Vidro said of his two-run single. "[Bottenfield] threw me four breaking pitches in a row and I was even in the count 2-2 with Vladimir [Guerrero] behind me so I knew I was going to get a good pitch to hit there. Eventually I got it and I didn't miss."

Javier Vazquez (7-6) was the winner. Ugueth Urbina got his 30th save, the second straight season he reached that mark.

BRAVES 6, REDS 4: In Atlanta, John Smoltz won for the first time in more than two months, allowing four hits in eight innings. The Braves scored four runs in the sixth to overcome a 3-2 deficit and snap Pete Harnisch's eight-game winning streak. Shortstop Jose Hernandez atoned for a defensive miscue with a two-run double as Atlanta won its sixth in a row.

Smoltz (9-6) had not posted a victory since June 18 at Arizona -- the longest winless streak of his career. Over his last nine starts, he was 0-4 with five no-decisions and a 4.13 earned run average.

ASTROS 5, METS 1: Ricky Gutierrez singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning and Jeff Bagwell followed with a three-run homer for visiting Houston. Bagwell's 38th homer made him the Astros' career RBI leader with 943, one more than current Houston first-base coach Jose Cruz.

Mike Hampton and Billy Wagner (3-1) combined on a five-hitter for Houston, which went ahead in the second inning when Carl Everett homered off his former team. Mike Piazza's 31st homer pulled the Mets even in the seventh.

Houston increased its NL Central lead to 1 1/2 games over second-place Cincinnati. New York dropped 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves in the NL East.

PHILLIES 18, PADRES 2: Bobby Abreu homered twice and drove in six runs and Rob Ducey got a career-high five hits to power Philadelphia at home. Ducey singled four times, scored four runs and had a two-run double in the third that made it 8-0. Abreu hit a three-run homer in the first and another three-run shot in the seventh. Rico Brogna was 4 for 5 with two RBI as the Phillies tied their season high with 22 hits to support Paul Byrd (14-6).

GIANTS 12, CUBS 4: In Chicago, Charlie Hayes hit a three-run homer and J.T. Snow and Ellis Burks drove in three runs each to help San Francisco win its fifth straight. The Cubs have won just twice in the last 15 games. Winner Shawn Estes (8-7) yielded three runs and six hits over seven innings. Sammy Sosa broke up his shutout bid in the fourth inning with an RBI double.

DIAMONDBACKS 5, MARLINS 4: Second baseman Jay Bell atoned for his costly double error in the seventh inning by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the eighth for visiting Arizona. Rookie Erubiel Durazo hit his fourth home run since being called up July 25 as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks won their fourth in a row.

DODGERS 5, BREWERS 2: In Milwaukee, Gary Sheffield drove in two runs and Mike Judd got his second major league win as Los Angeles won its third in a row.

Judd (2-1), a rookie making his third start in the majors, didn't allow a hit over the first four innings.

ROCKIES 3, PIRATES 2: In Pittsburgh, Angel Echevarria's two-run single with two outs in the ninth lifted visiting Colorado to its eighth win in 11 games.