The way the Florida Marlins are playing, only a force of nature could slow them down.

That's exactly what happened.

Carl Pavano and the visiting Marlins beat the New York Mets, 9-6, yesterday for their seventh win in a row before packing up and flying back to South Florida to prepare for Hurricane Frances. The storm has already forced the postponement of tonight's game against the Chicago Cubs -- but the Marlins aren't fazed.

"The good news is, I saved $159 on my car insurance," Manager Jack McKeon said, spoofing the ubiquitous insurance commercial. "Hopefully, we'll start up again Saturday and keep going the way we've been going."

Players showered and dressed quickly so they could return to a state bracing for its worst storm in at least a decade. Frances, packing 145-mph winds and the potential to push ashore waves up to 15 feet high, could be felt in Florida by midmorning yesterday.

"A lot of us have houses and family down there, so obviously we're worried about it," Pavano said.

The Marlins said no decision had been made on whether to call off games tomorrow or Sunday, or when today's postponement will be made up.

Pavano (16-5), who tied for the NL lead with his 16th win, allowed four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. Damion Easley and Juan Encarnacion each drove in three runs for the Marlins, who swept the four-game series.

* CARDINALS 7, PADRES 2: Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds homered in the first inning and Jeff Suppan won his fifth straight start, leading host St. Louis to a three-game sweep of San Diego.

Pujols and Edmonds each homered three times in the series for the Cardinals, who have won six in a row and 11 of 13 and have the majors' best record at 89-44.

Pujols was 4 for 4 with two RBI, 8 for 12 with six RBI in the series and has homered in four straight games.

* BREWERS 7, PIRATES 1: Ben Sheets threw a four-hitter for his first win since the all-star break, Bill Hall drove in four runs and host Milwaukee beat Pittsburgh to salvage a split of their four-game series.

* DODGERS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Adrian Beltre hit his 43rd homer and Milton Bradley doubled twice to lead visiting Los Angeles.

* ROCKIES 6, GIANTS 5: In San Francisco, Vinny Castilla hit a two-run homer and Matt Holliday drove in two runs as Colorado beat Jason Schmidt and the Giants.

Ben Sheets throws a four-hitter to lead the Brewers over the Pirates, 7-1, in Milwaukee. Sheets walked one and struck out 10.