Shawn Estes won for the fourth time in five decisions, Vinny Castilla homered and the Colorado Rockies snapped the Dodgers' eight-game winning streak with a 6-5 victory last night in Los Angeles.
Estes improved to 5-0 in nine starts this year against NL West teams. Three of those wins have come against the division-leading Dodgers, who returned from a six-game road trip to Arizona and Houston and lost for only the second time in 16 games.
One night after watching teammate Jason Jennings give up a franchise-worst 15 hits in a 9-7 loss to San Diego, Estes (10-4) nearly blew a 6-0 lead before the bullpen bailed him out. The left-hander allowed four runs on five hits and struck out five in 61/3 innings, after limiting San Francisco to one run in a season-high eight innings last Friday.
The Dodgers, who came from behind in all six games on their road trip, closed to 6-4 with a solo homer by Jose Hernandez in the fourth and three runs in the sixth.
Hernandez doubled home one run, Milton Bradley had an RBI groundout and Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly -- which would have been a two-run homer if not for a leaping grab at the fence by left fielder Jeromy Burnitz.
* CUBS 5, REDS 4: Sammy Sosa hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh following a rain delay, and Chicago overcame a two-run deficit to beat Cincinnati at Wrigley Field and stop a three-game losing streak.
Sosa hit his 18th homer of the year off Todd Van Poppel (3-4) as Chicago won for only the fourth time in its last 13 games.
* PIRATES 4, BRAVES 3: Kris Benson made another enticing start before the trade deadline, pitching eight strong innings to lead streaking Pittsburgh over host Atlanta.
The Pirates (44-48) are closing in on .500 after winning for the 17th time in 22 games.
Benson has played a big part in the turnaround. He has yielded no more than two earned runs in six of his last seven starts, gone at least seven innings in 10 straight starts and hasn't allowed a homer in 60 consecutive innings.
* PHILLIES 2, MARLINS 1: Ricky Ledee hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh and Kevin Millwood pitched seven strong innings, helping host Philadelphia end its nine-game losing streak against the Marlins.
Ledee, starting in left field for the struggling Pat Burrell, also made an outstanding leaping catch on a drive by Damion Easley in the fifth that appeared headed over the wall.
Philadelphia moved one game ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.
* METS 5, EXPOS 4: Nick Johnson dropped a routine throw to first with two outs in the eighth, allowing Ty Wigginton to score the go-ahead run for host New York.
Shifted from third base to first when the Mets called up prized prospect David Wright earlier in the day, Wigginton reached base five times on three walks and two errors. He also made a nice scoop at first to complete a game-ending double play.
* CARDINALS 1, BREWERS 0: Woody Williams threw seven innings of five-hit ball in 93-degree heat, singled twice and scored in the victory in St. Louis.
* ASTROS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Andy Pettitte pitched a season-high eight innings, and visiting Houston extended Arizona's losing streak to 10.
* PADRES 7, GIANTS 1: Jake Peavy won for the fifth time in six starts and Rich Aurilia had three hits in his first game for San Diego, helping the Padres win in San Francisco. Phil Nevin had two of San Diego's 16 hits and drove in a run in his first game off the disabled list. Aurilia was acquired from Seattle on Monday.