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Wednesday, September 18, 12:04 PM


Philadelphia (74-77) at Atlanta (95-54)              7:05 pm EDT
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Manager Bobby Cox seeks his 1,800th career 
victory on Wednesday night when the Atlanta Braves continue a
three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Cox owns a
record of 1,799-1,399 in 21 seasons as a manager with the Braves
and Toronto Blue Jays. He would become the 12th manager to
reach the 1,800-victory plateau and would join St. Louis' Tony
La Russa as the only active managers to reach the milestone.
Atlanta used a strong start from Greg Maddux for a 2-1 victory
in Tuesday's series opener. Maddux allowed one run and four hits
in seven innings to outduel Vicente Padilla, who also had a
stellar outing. Padilla yielded two runs and nine hits in seven
innings. Closer John Smoltz got the final four outs for his 52nd
save, leaving him one shy of the National League record.
Atlanta leads Arizona by 3 1/2 games for the best record in
baseball and home-field advantage through the National League
playoffs. Jason Marquis (8-9, 5.05 ERA) is seeking his first
victory since August 3 when he gets the start for Atlanta.
Marquis is 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA in his last five starts and has
served up four homers during that span. The 24-year-old
righthander is 2-1 with a 4.70 lifetime ERA against
Philadelphia. He split a pair of starts against the Phillies in
April. Rookie Brett Myers (4-4, 3.86) makes his 11th start of
the season for Philadelphia. Myers turned in a solid outing in
his last start last Wednesday, allowing one run and six hits in
six innings in a 9-2 victory over the Florida Marlins. Myers, a
22-year-old righthander, is facing Atlanta for the first time.
He is 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA on the road this season.

Montreal (75-76) at Florida (73-78)                  7:05 pm EDT
MIAMI (Ticker) -- Kevin Millar attempts to extend the
second-longest hitting streak in franchise history to 24 games
on Wednesday when the Florida Marlins continue a three-game
series with the Montreal Expos. Millar went 1-for-5 in Tuesday's
8-5, 14-inning loss to the Expos. Montreal has won five
straight for the first time since an eight-game run from June
12-21 and is trying to reach .500 for the first time since
August 28, when it was 66-66. In Tuesday's win, Jose Vidro hit a
three-run homer in the top of the 14th and backup catcher Brian
Schneider went 4-for-6. Montreal's Tomo Ohka (13-8, 3.31) has
dropped his last two decisions after a five-game winning streak.
He last pitched in Thursday's 8-2 loss to the New York Mets,
when he allowed five runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Thursday was just the fourth time this year he had allowed five
or more earned runs. Lifetime against the Marlins, Ohka is 0-2
with a 7.88 ERA in three starts. On July 27, he lasted a
season-low one inning after allowing five runs and three hits.
Former Expo Carl Pavano (5-10, 5.27) makes his sixth start for
the Marlins and first career start against his old team. Pavano
has won consecutive games for the first time since June 13-19,
2000. In Friday's 13-3 win over Atlanta, he allowed three hits
and three runs in six innings. As a Marlin, Pavano is 2-2 with a
3.64 ERA in 19 overall appearances.

Cincinnati (74-77) at Pittsburgh (66-85)             7:05 pm EDT
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Josh Fogg again hopes to become the first
Pittsburgh Pirates' rookie to win 13 games in 15 years on
Wednesday when he pitches against the Cincinnati Reds. The last
Pittsburgh rookie to reach the mark was Mike Dunne, who went
13-6 in 1987. However, Fogg (12-11, 4.32) has dropped four of
his last five decisions and is 3-5 in 13 starts since the
All-Star break. He did not get a decision in Friday's 5-3 win
over Philadelphia, allowing three runs and seven hits over five
innings. Fogg is facing the Reds for the first time. Jimmy
Haynes (14-9, 4.26 ERA) needs two victories to become the first
Reds' righthander to win 16 games since Pete Harnisch in 1999.
Haynes already has established a caree high in wins and is
approaching career highs in starts and innings pitched. However,
Haynes did not get a decision in Friday's 7-6 loss to the
Chicago Cubs, giving up six runs and eight hits. He did strike
out a season-high eight in six innings. Lifetime against
Pittsburgh, Haynes is 3-5 with a 4.85 ERA in 10 games. This
year, he is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four starts against the
Pirates. The Pirates evened the series with an 11-3 win on
Tuesday. Former Red Pokey Reese had his first four-hit game as a
Pirate, while Cincinnati committed five errors in a game for
the first time since May 21, 1990.

Chicago Cubs (64-87) at NY Mets (71-79)              7:10 pm EDT
FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- The New York Mets seek a fifth
consecutive home victory Wednesday night as they continue a
three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. New York has won four
in a row at Shea Stadium following its National League record
15-game home losing streak. It is the Mets' longest home winning
streak since they won five in a row here from July 14-July 23.
The Mets improved to 34-38 this season at home with Tuesday's
3-1 win. Sammy Sosa hit his 497th career homer, but Jeromy
Burnitz's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning
snapped New York's overall three-game losing streak. New York,
which needs to win seven of its final nine home games for a
winning record at Shea Stadium, sends Steve Trachsel (9-11, 3.54
ERA) to the mound. Trachsel has dropped four of his last five
decisions and lasted just 2 1/3 innings in last Tuesday's loss
at Atlanta. He allowed four runs and five hits and left the game
after being hit on his pitching hand trying to field a
grounder. The veteran righthander, who was 60-69 from 1993-1999
with the Cubs, is 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA in two starts against his
former team. Chicago's Kerry Wood (11-9, 3.88) has won two of
his last three decisions after dropping his previous three.
Wood's last start was Friday's 7-6 win at Cincinnati, when he
allowed six runs and seven hits in seven innings. Lifetime
against the Mets, the hard-throwing righthander is 2-0 with a
1.67 ERA in four starts.

Houston (80-71) at Milwaukee (53-97)                 8:05 pm EDT
MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros try to bolster their
fading playoff hopes on Wednesday night when they continue a
three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Houston fell 7 1/2
games behind first-place St. Louis in the National League
Central Division after dropping the opener of this series, 5-4,
on Tuesday. Rookie Kirk Saarloos allowed five runs and six hits
in 5 1/3 innings to suffer his sixth loss of the year. Milwaukee
starter Ben Sheets allowed three runs and six hits while
striking out seven in eight innings. Sheets defeated the Astros
for the fourth straight time. Keith Ginter and Jorge Fabregas
each had RBI doubles for the Brewers, which won for just the
third time in 13 games. Brad Lidge (1-0, 9.53 ERA) makes his
first major league start for Houston. Lidge has made five relief
appearances and has allowed six runs and 10 hits. The
25-year-old righthander went 5-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 24 games for
Class AAA New Orleans this year. Lidge, a Notre Dame product,
was recalled on September 1 for the second time this season
after spending time at Class AA Round Rock in April. Lefthander
Glendon Rusch (10-13, 4.65) has won four straight starts for
Milwaukee. Rusch owns a 3.25 ERA in that span and has struck out
24 in those outings. In his last outing, Rusch went the
distance and allowed seven hits in an 8-4 victory at Arizona on
Friday. He is 1-2 with a 3.50 ERAin three starts against
Houston this season.

St Louis (87-63) at Colorado (69-82)                 9:00 pm EDT
DENVER (Ticker) --  The St. Louis Cardinals try to move closer
to the National League Central Division title on Wednesday as
they continue a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies
at Coors Field. The Cardinals are 11-4 in September, the best
record in the NL. They have won 14 of their last 18 games and
have reduced their number for clinching the division to five.
St. Louis scored seven runs in the eighth inning en route to an
11-4 triumph in Tuesday's series opener. Albert Pujols drove in
three runs and Tino Martinez belted a grand slam as the
Cardinals improved to 6-2 on a 10-game road trip. Andy Benes
(5-4, 3.30 ERA) takes the mound for St. Louis on Wednesday. He
is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts, allowing six
runs in 19 1/3 innings. Benes pitched in Milwaukee last
Wednesday and gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings but did not
receive a decision. He has won five of his last six decisions
since June 30. The 35-year-old righthander made his season debut
against Colorado on April 4 and lost, surrendering five runs -
four earned - in four innings. He is 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in 22
career appearances against the Rockies, including 21 starts.
Dennis Stark gets the start for Colorado, which has won four of
its last six games. Stark (10-3, 3.88) defeated Los Angeles on
Thursday, when he gave up just one run and two hits in seven
innings. He has not lost since August 11. The 27-year-old
righthander makes his first appearance against the Cardinals.

Arizona (92-58) at San Diego (64-87)                10:05 pm EDT
SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks look to move
closer to a return trip to the postseason on Wednesday night
when they continue a three-game series with the San Diego
Padres. Arizona leads second-place San Francisco by 6 1/2 games
in the National League West Division with Los Angeles 7 1/2
games back. The Diamondbacks have a magic number of five to
clinch a playoff spot. Miguel Batista threw seven strong innings
but suffered the loss in a 3-2 defeat in the series opener on
Tuesday. The Padres scored three runs in the first inning on a
strange play when Ray Lankford hit an RBI double. Right fielder
David Dellucci lost the ball in the bullpen for an error, which
allowed two more runs to score. Adam Eaton helped make the three
runs stand up by yielding one run and two hits in seven
innings. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 38th save.
Luis Gonzalez connected for his 27th homer in the fourth inning.
Former Padre Steve Finley added an RBI single, but Arizona fell
to 1-6 at Qualcomm Stadium this season. Struggling Rick Helling
(8-11, 4.47 ERA) gets the start for Arizona as he auditions for
a possible start in the playoffs. Helling is 0-3 with a 4.17
ERA in his last six starts and has lasted past the fifth inning
just once in his last three outings. The righthander is making
his second start of the season against San Diego. Helling lost
here on April 10, despite allowing two runs and eight hits in
six innings in a 2-1 loss. Rookie Oliver Perez (3-3, 3.13) is
winless in his last six starts for San Diego. Perez is 0-2 with
a 2.97 ERA in that span and has yielded just two runs in his
last two outings. The Mexican righthander is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA
in a pair of starts against Arizona. Perez is 2-1 with a 2.13
ERA at home this season.

San Francisco (86-65) at Los Angeles (85-66)        10:10 pm EDT
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers try to pull even
with the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild card
race again on Wednesday in the third game of a four-game series
at Dodger Stadium. The Giants rebounded from a loss in the
series opener with a 6-4 victory Tuesday and moved one game
ahead of the Dodgers in the NL wild card race. They are 6 1/2
games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West
with just 11 games left. Barry Bonds hit a two-run double with
two outs in the second inning to lead San Francisco. The Giants
won for the third time in seven games and improved to 6-2 in Los
Angeles this season. The Dodgers have lost eight of their last
11 games after winning five of their previous six. Kevin Bierne
makes his second start for the Dodgers on Wednesday. He started
in Colorado on Friday and gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings but
did not receive a decision. Bierne (1-0, 2.79 ERA) is 0-1 with a
4.35 ERA in two career appearances as a starter. The
28-year-old righthander makes his first career appearance
against the Giants. San Francisco hands the ball to Russ Ortiz
(12-10, 3.57), who has won his last four starts. He has allowed
just five runs and 23 hits in 21 2/3 innings during his winning
streak. Ortiz won in San Diego on Friday, giving up three runs
and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. The veteran righthander is 2-2
with a 5.25 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles this season.
He is 4-5 with a 6.12 ERA in 11 lifetime appearances against the
Dodgers, including 10 starts.

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