So Taguchi scored the go-ahead run on Paul Bako's passed ball in the eighth inning, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the visiting Chicago Cubs, 10-9, last night.

The Cardinals wasted leads of 3-0 and 5-3 but bounced back to take a two-game lead over Chicago in the NL Central and improved to 28-8 at home against the Cubs since 2000.

Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer for the Cardinals, his 20th.

Todd Walker homered and had four hits, and Corey Patterson and Derrek Lee had three hits each for Chicago, which outhit the Cardinals 14-9 but lost for the second time in 11 games.

After scoring two runs off closer Jason Isringhausen in the eighth inning Tuesday, Chicago beat up on the Cardinals' bullpen again, scoring six runs in the sixth off Kiko Calero and Julian Tavarez to take a 9-8 lead. Entering the series, Cardinals relievers hadn't allowed a run in 10 consecutive home games, a span of 321/3 innings.

Hector Luna tied the score at 9 in the seventh with a sacrifice fly against Kent Mercker.

Taguchi, recalled from Class AAA Memphis earlier in the day, walked off Mike Remlinger (0-1) to start the eighth. He advanced on John Mabry's sacrifice and a groundout, then scored without a play when Bako couldn't handle a high inside fastball on the first pitch from Kyle Farnsworth.

Bako entered after Mercker and catcher Michael Barrett were ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook after an argument at the end of the seventh.

Steve Kline (2-1) retired the last five batters in order.

* PADRES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3: David Wells outdueled Randy Johnson in a matchup of perfect-game lefties but got a no-decision when San Diego blew a one-run lead at home. Terrence Long then homered with one out in the ninth to beat Arizona.

Wells left in the seventh with a 3-1 lead, but the Diamondbacks added a run that inning and then tied the game in the ninth on Alex Cintron's single as Akinori Otsuka (5-2) blew a save chance. Arizona, which lost its season-high sixth straight game, had three singles off Otsuka in the ninth.

Wells stayed in the game after getting hit on the left forearm by a pitch from Johnson in the seventh.

Wells then allowed a leadoff double by Greg Colbrunn, who was pinch-hitting for Johnson, and made way for Scott Linebrink. Colbrunn scored on Scott Hairston's groundout and Steve Finley doubled for his third hit.

Finley tried to score on Danny Bautista's single to center, but rookie catcher Humberto Quintero held onto Jay Payton's one-hop throw and tagged him for the third out.

Johnson failed to become the first 10-game winner in the majors. He allowed three runs, seven hits, and struck out eight in seven innings.

* GIANTS 3, DODGERS 2: Ray Durham hit a bases-loaded triple and Jerome Williams pitched six strong innings in host San Francisco's fifth straight win.

The Giants increased their NL West lead to 11/2 games with their third straight win over their fiercest rivals.

Williams (7-5) mostly stayed out of trouble in his third victory in four starts, yielding six hits and two walks over six innings. He barely outpitched Jeff Weaver (5-8), who allowed just five hits in six innings while retiring 10 of his last 11 hitters.

* PHILLIES 5, EXPOS 2: Jim Thome hit his major league-leading 24th home run and Kevin Millwood won for the first time in eight starts, leading visiting Philadelphia.

Millwood (5-5), who was 0-3 in his last seven starts, pitched 61/3 effective innings for his first win since May 11.

* PIRATES 7, ASTROS 2: In Houston, Ryan Vogelsong (2-7) allowed two hits over six innings to win for the first time in 12 starts and Jason Kendall hit his first career grand slam as Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing streak.

* ROCKIES 3, BREWERS 2: Shawn Estes had an RBI double, Shawn Chacon worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the ninth and Colorado ended an eight-game road losing streak.

* REDS 6, METS 4: Sean Casey hit his second two-run homer of the game in the 12th inning and finished with five hits, lifting visiting Cincinnati.

* MARLINS 6, BRAVES 0: In Miami, Brad Penny pitched six shutout innings and Jeff Conine homered for the first time in more than a month.