Giants beat Diamond backs, move to 96-64


NEW YORK, AP

One more win will give the San Francisco Giants something they haven’t had in almost 40 years — the best record in baseball.

A 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night improved the National League-leading Giants to 96-64, two games ahead of Atlanta and St. Louis (each 94-66), which both lost. The Chicago White Sox are also 94-66 for the best record in the AL.

San Francisco has not had the best record in baseball since 1962.

Rich Aurilia hit a tiebreaking homer and drove in three runs as the Giants clinched at least a tie for the majors’ best record.

“I think a lot of people have success here,” said Aurilia, who homered for the second time in four games at Phoenix, all Giants’ wins. “It’s a good hitter’s park, got a good backdrop to hit, and the ball carries.”

San Francisco would be wise to clinch home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs: it finished with the majors’ best home record (55-26).

Livan Hernandez (17-11) allowed two runs in eight innings. Robb Nen pitched the ninth for his career-high 41st save, 28th straight, giving up a run on Luis Gonzalez’s grounder.

Reds 8, Cardinals 1 Ron Villone struck out a career-high 16 in St. Louis, tying a Reds franchise record for strikeouts by a left-hander set by Noodles Hahn in 1901.

Villone (10-10) pitched a two-hitter and had three singles.

The NL Central champion Cardinals are tied with Atlanta for the second-best record in the NL.

Rockies 4, Braves 2 Todd Hollandsworth and Terry Shumpert hit consecutive home runs off Andy Ashby as Colorado slowed host Atlanta’s chances for home-field advantage in the postseason.

Todd Helton added his 41st home run for the Rockies in the ninth. The NL East champion Braves lost their third straight.

Mets 11, Expos 2 Jay Payton’s first career grand slam highlighted a six-run first inning at New York.

Dodgers 3, Padres 0 At San Diego, Gary Sheffield tied the Dodgers’ franchise record with his career-high 43rd homer, and Chan Ho Park struck out 13 and also homered in his first major league shutout.

Park (18-10) pitched a two-hitter and extended his scoreless streak to 25 innings.

Marlins 7, Phillies 1 Chuck Smith allowed four hits and struck out 11 in eight strong innings as Florida won at home.

Luis Castillo and Cliff Floyd hit solo home runs for the Marlins, who have won four in a row and six of seven.

Pirates 8, Cubs 4 Adrian Brown scored the go-ahead run in the seventh and added a two-run single in the eighth at Pittsburgh.

Brewers 13, Astros 3

Geoff Jenkins homered twice and Jeromy Burnitz homered and scored four runs at Enron Field.