The Colorado Rockies extended their National League (NL) wild card lead to four and a half games on Sunday with a 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies, who are also being chased by the San Francisco Giants for a spot, rode Jason Giambi's two-run homer in the eighth inning for the victory. It was his second home run in successive games after the former Oakland and New York Yankees first baseman hit a three-run ninth inning homer in a pinch-hit role in Saturday's 10-4 win.
"When we left on this trip, we were four and a half games ahead, and over the course of 10 days we go back home and we have the same lead that we had when we left," the Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. Colorado scored three runs in the seventh on two singles and a sacrifice bunt to overcome a 1-0 Arizona lead. The Arizona pitcher Dan Haren (14-9) did not allow a hit until Giambi singled in the fifth. He went eight innings, yielding eight hits and five runs with seven strike-outs and two walks.
"The guy's got some of the best stuff in baseball and once the guy puts everything together, he's going to be pretty special," said Haren. "I tip my cap to him. He's having a really good year, a coming-out year for him and he just got the better of me." San Francisco fell farther behind Colorado in the wild card race with a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The loss left the Giants half a game ahead of the Florida Marlins in the race to catch the Rockies.
Elsewhere, the Chicago Cubs beat the NL Central-leading St Louis Cardinals 6-3, while NL East leaders Philadelphia won 4-1 at Atlanta. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Florida Marlins 8-1 and Washington lost 6-2 to the New York Mets. Making his final start of the season, Yovanni Gollardo tossed five scoreless innings to lead Milwaukee to a 6-0 win over Houston.
Kevin Correia shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven innings as the San Diego Padres recorded a 7-0 win. The New York Yankees blew their first chance to seal play-off spot after losing 7-1 at Seattle. The Boston Red Sox cut their magic number to seven games to reach the post-season after a 9-3 win over Baltimore. The Detroit Tigers restored their three-game lead in the American League (AL) Central after Placido Polanco delivered the decisive two-run single in a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins, who could have closed the gap to one game with the win.
The Texas Rangers have fallen seven and a half games back in the AL West after going down 10-5 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Tampa Bay beat Toronto 3-1, Chicago White Sox overcame Kansas City 2-1 and Oakland enjoyed an 11-4 victory over Cleveland. * Reuters