CINCINNATI – Brandon Phillips hit his first home run in August, Mike Leake pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Saturday to strengthen their hold on the top spot in the NL Central.

Phillips and Ryan Ludwick had three hits apiece, and Jay Bruce added a two-run homer as Cincinnati regained a seven-game lead over second-place St. Louis, which rallied to win the series opener 8-5 on Friday night.

Leake (6-8) allowed at least one hit in every inning except one but kept the Cardinals at bay. Leake, who also had two hits, lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and two runs.

ROCKIES 4, CUBS 3: Carlos Gonzalez used his speed to beat out a potential double-play ball in the seventh inning and drive in the go-ahead run at Chicago.

Carlos Torres (3-1) threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings as four Rockies relievers threw five innings of one-hit ball.

METS 3, ASTROS 1: R.A. Dickey helped himself in winning his 16th game, driving in a run with a single and pitching seven solid innings as New York ended a six-game skid.

Dickey (16-4) again showed he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, as he tied the NL’s Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto, and the AL’s Jered Weaver and David Price for the major league wins lead.

BRAVES 7, GIANTS 3: Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer and Mike Minor (7-10) won for the first time in six starts as visiting Atlanta ended San Francisco’s five-game winning streak.

PIRATES 4, BREWERS 0: Jeff Karstens (5-3) pitched seven-plus innings before leaving with an injury as homestanding Pittsburgh snapped a four-game losing streak.

PHILLIES 4, NATIONALS 2: Roy Halladay (8-7) outpitched Gio Gonzalez with seven solid innings and John Mayberry Jr. homered at Philadelphia.

PADRES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Yonder Alonso hit the last of San Diego’s three solo homers and added a two-run single at Phoenix as the Padres won their sixth straight.


INDIANS 3, YANKEES 1: Justin Masterson (10-11) handled New York’s power-packed lineup for 62/3 innings and Michael Brantley hit a three-run homer at Cleveland.

ATHLETICS 4, RAYS 2: Brandon McCarthy (7-5) pitched seven solid innings in St. Petersburg, Fla., as the A’s took 2 of 3 games from Tampa Bay and moved within a half-game of the AL wild card-leading Rays.

ORIOLES 8, BLUE JAYS 2: J.J. Hardy homered and scored three runs, and rookie Steve Johnson (2-0) allowed four hits over six innings at Baltimore.

Baltimore (69-57) is in the thick of the AL wild-card chase and only four games out of first place in the AL East.

RANGERS 9, TWINS 3: Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff home run and Mitch Moreland launched a 463-foot shot, giving homestanding Texas its fourth straight win.

Ryan Dempster (3-1) allowed two runs in six innings.

TIGERS 5, ANGELS 3: Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run double, part of a three-run eighth inning at Detroit. Octavio Dotel (4-2) threw two scoreless innings for the win.

WHITE SOX 5, MARINERS 4: Tyler Flowers hit a tying homer and Dewayne Wise had the go-ahead RBI single at Chicago as the White Sox won their fifth straight.