Utley lifts Phillies to victory

Chase Utley came off the disabled list in time to help the Philadelphia Phillies get an important win. Jake Peavy's terrific outing for San Diego helped the Padres pick up a big victory, too.

Utley had three hits, including a solo homer, in his first game since having hand surgery one month ago, and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 9-2 on Monday night in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.

"It turned out pretty well," Utley said. "It definitely felt good to be out there."

Peavy was brilliant again with 11 strikeouts, leading San Diego to a 3-1 win against Arizona that trimmed the Diamondbacks' lead in the NL West to two games over the Padres.

"This is a huge series for us, and we know that," said Peavy, who outpitched Livan Hernandez (9-9) and improved to 10-2 in 13 starts following a San Diego loss this season. "We're playing catch-up. We're on top of the pack in the wild-card race, but we're not focused on that. We want to be division champions and we feel like we can do that."

In other NL games, it was: Atlanta 13, Florida 2; Los Angeles Dodgers 5, Washington 4; and San Francisco 4, Colorado 1.

At Philadelphia, J.D. Durbin (6-3) had a career-high six strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings, Pat Burrell and pinch-hitter Tadahito Iguchi hit two-run homers and Jayson Werth was 4-for-4, helping the Phillies move within five games of the NL East-leading Mets.

Werth gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI double. He has nine straight hits over two games. The NL record for consecutive hits is 10, accomplished by 10 different players.

"I'm focused on what I'm trying to do and I feel comfortable," Werth said.

Mets starter Brian Lawrence (1-2) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings. He has a 6.31 ERA in five starts.

"I've been disappointed the last couple games," Lawrence said. "I'm a ground ball pitcher and balls have been finding holes."

Geoff Blum and Milton Bradley homered for San Diego, which is trying to win its third straight division title. The Padres retained a three-game lead in the wild-card race over Philadelphia.

Peavy (15-5) tied his career high in victories. He struck out 11 for the third straight start and reached double digits for the eighth time this year, pushing his NL lead to 197.

Peavy, who gave up three hits and one run in seven innings, also became the Padres' career leader in strikeouts. His first-inning punchout of Orlando Hudson was No. 1,037, moving him past Andy Benes.

"Peavy was lights-out tonight," said Eric Byrnes, who homered for Arizona. "He was throwing and hitting off the corners all night. It was tough. He didn't make many mistakes."

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 39 chances, and the 516th of his career.

Braves 13, Marlins 2

Brian McCann hit his second grand slam in a week and Atlanta rebounded from a tough weekend in St. Louis to rout slumping Florida.

The visiting Braves won for the second time in seven games, after losing two of three over the weekend to the Cardinals. The Marlins lost for the 12th time in their last 13.

Matt Diaz hit a solo homer, doubled twice, singled and scored three runs. Chipper Jones had three hits and scored three runs, and Kelly Johnson hit a solo homer.

Scott Olsen (9-12) lasted just four innings for the Marlins. He gave up 10 runs, six earned, and 11 hits. Olsen fell to 1-5 in seven starts since he was arrested July 21 for driving under the influence and resisting an officer.

Lance Cormier (1-4) pitched seven innings for the Braves, allowing two runs and six hits.

Dodgers 5, Nationals 4

Derek Lowe won despite giving up three homers, Ramon Martinez hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Los Angeles gained ground in the NL West.

Los Angeles closed within 51/2 games of division-leading Arizona and remained 31/2 games back of San Diego in the wild-card race.

The Dodgers trailed 4-2 before they scored three runs in the sixth inning, capped off by Martinez's sacrifice fly.

Lowe (11-11) gave up three homers in a game for the first time in more than two years. The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one for his third consecutive win.

Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 38 chances.

Mike Bacsik (5-8) gave up five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings for the visiting Nationals.

Giants 4, Rockies —

Rich Aurilia singled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning for the second straight day and San Francisco won its fifth straight.

Kevin Frandsen added a two-run double to give the Giants their 10th win in 12 games.

Brad Hawpe homered for the visiting Rockies, who had their three-game winning streak stopped.

Brian Wilson (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win and Brad Hennessey worked the ninth for his 15th save.

Jorge Julio (0-5) gave up five hits and retired just one batter for the Rockies. Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games with his first-inning single.

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