Jeff Kent hit a two-run homer off Matt Morris with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning last night, giving the Houston Astros a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kent's second homer of the season ruined a splendid pitching performance by Morris (0-1), who retired 17 of 18 batters before Lance Berkman's two-out infield single in the ninth.
Kent then sent a 3-1 pitch over the left-center field fence to give Houston a thrilling win in the opener of a three-game series between teams that have combined for the last seven NL Central titles.
"I just put it into the wind," Kent said. "Morris pitched a great game. We just got to him late. Our bullpen gives us confidence by keeping it close so that we can come back."
Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa decided to stay with Morris in the ninth inning.
"He'd only given up one run into the ninth. I thought he looked great," La Russa said. "It was a disappointing game."
Octavio Dotel (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth for the victory.
* REDS 7, PHILLIES 6: In Cincinnati, Austin Kearns's second home run of the game, a two-run shot off Jose Mesa with one out in the ninth, gave the Reds their first dramatic win in their new ballpark.
* BREWERS 11, DIAMONDBACKS 7: In Phoenix, Geoff Jenkins went a career-best 5 for 5 with three RBI and three runs scored for Milwaukee.
Randy Johnson allowed 10 runs in 42/3 innings in one of the worst starts of his career. The 10 earned runs tied a career worst for Johnson.
* GIANTS 3, DODGERS 2: In San Francisco, Barry Bonds hit his 617th career homer and Andres Galarraga drove in two runs as the Giants matched the best start in franchise history.
The Giants began the season 10-1 for the fourth time in their history and first since moving to San Francisco 45 years ago. They also won 10 of their first 11 games in 1918, 1932 and 1938 when they were in New York.
Bonds homered to right on a 2-0 pitch from Odalis Perez (0-1) in the second for his fourth of the season.
* PADRES 6, ROCKIES 4: Brian Lawrence allowed two runs and struck out eight over six innings and hit his first career home run, leading San Diego at home.
Gary Bennett went 3 for 3 with two doubles and three RBI for the Padres.
Todd Helton drove in both runs against Lawrence with a home run and a sacrifice fly.
* MARLINS 7, BRAVES 4: Derrek Lee hit his 100th home run, pitcher Brad Penny connected for his first and host Florida won its third game in a row.
Chipper Jones hit his second homer of the season for the Braves, who have been outscored 60-12 in their seven defeats.
Penny (1-1) allowed seven hits and left after five innings.
* PIRATES 3, CUBS 2: Aramis Ramirez went 2 for 3 with an RBI single in the first inning to help Jeff D'Amico get his first win of the season for visiting Pittsburgh.
The Pirates scored a run in three of the four first innings and D'Amico and four relievers made the lead hold up. Pittsburgh (7-3) is off to its best start since also winning seven of 10 in 1993.