Kirk Rueter beat the Pittsburgh Pirates as much with his bat as with his arm, driving in four runs with three hits to back his two-run pitching as the San Francisco Giants cruised to a 10-2 victory.
Bill Mueller and Jeff Kent homered Thursday as the Giants won three of four in the series to increase their NL West lead over idle Arizona to three games.
Their eighth loss in 10 games finished a miserable August (8-21) for the Pirates, who have the majors’ worst record (53-79).
The Giants didn’t need long to get to Jose Silva (8-9), who allowed eight runs on 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Rueter, a .170 hitter with only one RBI in 47 at bats this season entering the game, followed center fielder Adrian Brown’s run-scoring throwing error in the second with a two-run double that made it 3-0.
Brewers 8, Dodgers 2 In Milwaukee, Jeromy Burnitz and Luis Lopez each drove in three runs, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Geoff Jenkins homered, doubled, singled and scored three runs. Lopez homered and Burnitz doubled twice and singled.
Paul Rigdon (2-2) allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, striking out four and walking one.
Padres 11, Cubs 5 In Chicago, Phil Nevin hurt the Cubs again, hitting a two-run homer and a two-run single as the San Diego Padres beat Chicago.
Nevin finished 4 for-5. In the last 30 games, the former No. 1 pick has hit .407 with nine doubles and 34 RBIs — he drove in a career high-tying six runs Monday at Wrigley Field.
Pinch-hitter Kory DeHaan added a two-run homer for the Padres.
Reds 3, Braves 4 In Atlanta, the Atlanta Braves fell out of first place in the NL East for the first time since April 19, losing to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 on Sean Casey’s tiebreaking double.
Atlanta dropped a half-game behind the idle New York Mets. The Braves lost three of four to Cincinnati, going 2-6 on a homestand that left them with a 14-15 record in August.
This is first time since 1993 the Braves have not been in first place this late in the season. Atlanta has won eight straight division titles.
The Reds, held hitless for four innings by starter Kevin Millwood (8-10), overcame a 2-0 deficit with a four-run sixth inning.
Millwood broke his nose in a bunting drill Monday and was not expected to make his scheduled start. But after throwing off the mound Wednesday, he said he was ready.