A four-day layoff failed to cool off the Florida Marlins, who eagerly resumed their late-season surge last night.
Idle last weekend because of Hurricane Frances, the Marlins looked rested rather than rusty and extended their longest winning streak since 1997 to eight games by beating the New York Mets, 7-3, in Miami.
A.J. Burnett (6-6) allowed two hits in 61/3 innings and Miguel Cabrera hit a tape-measure homer for the Marlins, who climbed nine games above .500 for the first time since May.
New York allowed two unearned runs, totaled three hits and lost its 10th straight game.
The winning streak by the defending World Series champions has put them back in the playoff race. They began the night trailing NL wild-card leader Chicago by three games.
Frances washed out a big weekend series against the Cubs and left the Marlins with 30 games to play in the final 27 days of the regular season.
Florida built a 5-0 lead against Tom Glavine (9-12), who lasted just five innings. He has lost five consecutive decisions against the Marlins, and he's 2-5 since the All-Star break.
Juan Pierre led off the Florida first with a double, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
Cabrera made it 3-0 in the third with a two-run homer estimated at 471 feet that easily cleared the scoreboard.
* ASTROS 9, REDS 7: In Houston, Roy Oswalt became the National League's first 17-game winner as the Astros extended their winning streak to 11 games.
Oswalt (17-9) gave up four runs on six hits in 72/3 innings, improving to 9-1 in his last 11 starts and 11-0 in 15 career games against the Reds.
Mike Lamb homered and drove in four runs and Carlos Beltran hit a two-run shot for the Astros, who moved within a half game of Chicago in the wild-card race.
Sean Casey homered twice for the Reds, who have lost nine of 11.
* DODGERS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Pinch hitter Robin Ventura hit his 18th career grand slam to tie Willie McCovey for third place on the career list and Hideo Nomo won for the first time in 11 decisions for host Los Angeles.
Ventura's blast came in the seventh inning. The only players who have hit more grand slams are Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig (23) and Eddie Murray (19).
* CARDINALS 4, PADRES 2: In San Diego, pinch hitter Roger Cedeno's go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning lifted St. Louis to its 10th win in 11 games.
Oft-injured Rick Ankiel worked in relief for the Cardinals, his first appearance in the majors in three years.
* ROCKIES 8, GIANTS 7: Jeromy Burnitz hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning to overshadow Barry Bonds's 698th homer and lift host Colorado.
* PIRATES 2, BREWERS 0: Dave Williams pitched 61/3 scoreless innings for his first victory in nearly three seasons and Jason Bay homered, leading Pittsburgh at home.
The Pirates ended a five-game losing streak with only their sixth victory in 21 games. The Brewers have lost nine of their last 10 road games.
* EXPOS 7, CUBS 6: Brian Schneider singled home a run and Jamey Carroll added a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning, and Montreal survived Corey Patterson's second home run of the game in the bottom half of the inning to win at Wrigley Field.
* PHILLIES-BRAVES, PPD.: Philadelphia's scheduled game in Atlanta was postponed by rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader today starting at 4:35 p.m.