ST. LOUIS (AP) - Albert Pujols kicked off a 4-for-4 night with a solo homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
St. Louis pulled within four games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 15. The Cardinals are the only team to beat the Brewers during their hot streak.
Pujols entered with just five hits in 42 at-bats against the Brewers. He ended the slide with a drive in the first against Yovani Gallardo (13-8), tying him with teammate Lance Berkman for the National League lead with 28 homers. Pujols added two singles against Gallardo, who lasted just five innings.
Chris Carpenter (8-8) gave up 10 hits in eight innings, but shut out the Brewers after they scored twice in the first. Fernando Salas finished for his 22nd save in 25 opportunities.
Diamondbacks 8, Astros 5, 10 innings
PHOENIX (AP) - Chris Young hit a game-ending three-run homer in the 10th inning, sending Arizona to the dramatic win.
Houston was one strike away from wrapping up a 5-3 victory before pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt belted a tying two-run shot off Mark Melancon for his second career homer.
Ryan Roberts and Justin Upton led off the 10th with consecutive singles off Jeff Fulchino (1-4). Sergio Escalona came in and retired Miguel Montero before Young hit a drive to left for his sixth career game-ending homer.
J.J. Putz (2-2) pitched a scoreless 10th inning for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, who moved a full game ahead of idle San Francisco with their third consecutive victory.
Jason Bourgeois and Jose Altuve each had three hits for Houston, which has lost three straight games.
Reds 2, Rockies 1
CINCINNATI (AP) - Johnny Cueto and two relievers made a pair of first-inning runs stand up and Cincinnati salvaged a split of its four-game series against Colorado.
Cueto, hampered by an upset stomach while pitching a season-low 3 2-3 innings in his last start at Wrigley Field, bounced back to throw three-hit ball for seven shutout innings. He took over the NL ERA lead, lowering his mark from 2.06 to 1.94.
Cueto (8-5) struck out a season-high nine, including Carlos Gonzalez with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.
Francisco Cordero allowed Seth Smith's 12th home run of the season leading off the ninth, then earned his 22nd save in 27 chances.
Jhoulys Chacin (9-9) pitched eight innings for Colorado, allowing six hits and tying his season high with nine strikeouts.
Padres 3, Mets 2
NEW YORK (AP) - Cameron Maybin homered and stole two bases before scoring the tiebreaking run on an error by substitute shortstop Ruben Tejada, rallying the Padres to a split of their four-game series against the Mets.
Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth and the last-place Padres improved to 5-2 on a 10-game trip that takes them to Cincinnati this weekend.
Lucas Duda hit a two-run double for the Mets, who finished 3-6 on a disappointing homestand. New York has lost eight of 11 overall.
With the Mets short on available relievers, Jonathon Niese (11-9) matched his career high with 122 pitches. He outlasted Cory Luebke in a matchup of young left-handers from Ohio, but couldn't hold an early 2-0 lead.
Chad Qualls (6-6) worked a perfect seventh to get the victory.
Cubs 4, Nationals 3
CHICAGO (AP) - Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena hit back-to-back homers to lead the Cubs to the victory.
Ramirez's two-run shot in the seventh was his 21st of the season, and gave him 16 homers since June 25, tops in the major leagues in that stretch.
Pena followed Ramirez with a drive that curled around the pole in right field and landed on Sheffield Avenue, putting the Cubs up 4-1.
Ryan Dempster (10-8) limited Washington to a first-inning home run by Ryan Zimmerman and went seven innings, allowing three hits.
Washington loaded the bases and scored a run in the ninth against Carlos Marmol, but he recovered to get his 26th save.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann (7-10) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.