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Mcgwire Blasts Back To Hr Lead

Associated Press

National League

Mark McGwire took the major-league lead in home runs with two tape-measure shots, including an estimated 500-footer, powering St. Louis past the Florida Marlins 7-3 Friday night in Miami.

McGwire hit his 40th homer in the third inning, a two-run shot against Tony Saunders that landed about 10 rows high in the upper deck in left-center field.

McGwire added a three-run homer in the ninth, his 41st, a blow that landed in the first row of the upper deck and traveled an estimated 462 feet. He swung and missed at pitches from Robb Nen clocked at 98 and 97 mph before connecting.

While playing for Oakland, McGwire hit the longest homer in the majors this season - a 538-footer against Randy Johnson at Seattle June 24. McGwire, who hit a 514-foot homer at Detroit in April, has seven homers since joining the Cardinals on July 31.

The multi-homer game was the 41st of McGwire’s career, his second with the Cardinals and his sixth this season. McGwire has homered in 23 of the 27 ballparks in which he has played.

Astros 9, Rockies 1 Houston

Darryl Kile extended his winning streak to a career-best 10 games and Derek Bell had three extra-base hits and four RBIs in his fifth consecutive multi-hit game for Houston.

Kile (17-3) held the Rockies to one run on seven hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked one. He has not lost since June 14 and has not lost to an N.L. team since April 30. The right-hander’s ERA dropped to 2.28. The Astros batted around in the sixth to break the game open.

Braves 6, Reds 2 Atlanta

Greg Maddux won his 10th consecutive decision for Atlanta to match his career best, allowing a season-high 11 hits.

Maddux (17-3), who hasn’t lost in 13 starts since Baltimore beat him June 13, struck out nine and walked none in seven innings. The hits were the most against him since July 2, 1996, when Montreal had 11.

Maddux, who got the benefit of three double plays, also won 10 consecutive decisions from May 23-Aug. 4, 1995.

Dodgers 5, Phillies 3 Philadelphia

Greg Gagne hit a three-run double with two outs in the ninth for Los Angeles.

Curt Schilling of Philadelphia struck out 12 to increase his league-leading total to 254, allowing three runs and six hits in 8-1/3 innings. Schilling reached double digits in strikeouts for the 14th time this season. Schilling is on a pace to become the first N.L. pitcher to strike out 300 since Houston’s Mike Scott fanned 306 in 1986. Ricky Bottalico (2-5) got the loss.

Pirates 3, Giants 2 Pittsburgh

Mark Smith and Eddie Williams homered in succession in the first inning for Pittsburgh.

Steve Cooke (9-12) avoided his usual first-inning troubles with the help of catcher Jason Kendall’s throwing arm to shut out the Giants until third baseman Joe Randa’s two-out error in the seventh led to two unearned runs.

Mets 9, Padres 8 (11) New York

Todd Hundley hit a tying, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth and New York won when Carlos Baerga drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk from Will Cunnane in the 11th. The Mets won their eighth straight extra-inning game.

Cubs 3, Expos 1 Chicago

Sammy Sosa had three RBIs, including a two-run homer, and Steve Trachsel allowed five hits over 7-2/3 innings for Chicago.

Sosa homered in the seventh inning off Steve Kline (0-2), who started the inning in relief of Expos starter Dustin Hermanson. Hermanson allowed just one hit and one walk over six innings, striking out five.

Clearing the bases

Colorado’s Larry Walker left the game in the sixth because of soreness in his right knee and is day-to-day. … Atlanta placed Mark Lemke on the 15-day disabled list and activated Keith Lockhart from the DL.

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