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NL roundup: Former fan lifts Mets past Cubs

Published: Sunday, Sept. 26 2004 12:00 a.m. MDT

Victor Diaz hits a three run home run for the Mets.

Ed Betz, Associated Press

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The Chicago Cubs' run at the postseason hit a little snag — with some help from a fan.

No, Steve Bartman wasn't in the crowd. It was New York Mets rookie Victor Diaz.

Diaz grew up in Chicago rooting for the Cubs, idolizing fellow Dominicans Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou. But on Saturday in New York, he hit a tying, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to help the Mets rally for a stunning 4-3 victory in 11 innings.

Craig Brazell provided the winning shot, his first major league homer, off Kent Mercker (3-1), and Diaz could not have been happier.

"I grew up a Cubs fan and to do that against this team, it's good," said Diaz, selected in the 37th round of the 2000 draft by Los Angeles. "I wished I got drafted by the Cubs. But everything worked out for me. I'm a Met now."

Brazell, who entered in the 11th as part of a double switch, led off the bottom half and lined a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall, ending Chicago's five-game winning streak.

GIANTS 9, DODGERS 5: At San Francisco, the Giants showed they can win even the biggest games without Barry Bonds' bat. Pedro Feliz hit a tiebreaking grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning for his fourth hit. San Francisco moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Dodgers in the NL West and a half-game behind Chicago in the wild-card race. The Dodgers and Giants play four more times, including the final three games of the season next weekend at Dodger Stadium.

BREWERS 8, ASTROS 0: At Milwaukee, Wes Obermueller pitched a six-hitter for his first career shutout and Milwaukee damaged Houston's playoff chances. The Astros remained 2 1/2 games behind Chicago in the NL wild-card race, wasting a great opportunity to gain ground. Russell Branyan homered, doubled and drove in three runs. Keith Ginter also connected for the Brewers, who snapped a three-game skid.

CARDINALS 10, ROCKIES 6: At Denver, John Mabry hit a three-run homer and Roger Cedeno added a disputed two-run shot, helping St. Louis defeat Colorado. With the NL Central already clinched, Cards manager Tony La Russa got creative with his lineup. Matt Morris, the scheduled starter, was given the day off to rest for the playoffs and reliever Al Reyes didn't know he was making his first big league start until arriving at the ballpark.

PHILLIES 4, EXPOS 3: At Montreal, Mike Lieberthal hit a go-ahead single in the 10th inning and Ryan Howard added a run-scoring double to lead Philadelphia over Montreal. About 500 Expos fans held a 30-minute rally before the game in the faint hope of dissuading major league baseball from moving their hometown team. The Expos, likely to be relocated to Washington, D.C., before next season, drew 8,491 fans to Olympic Stadium.

BRAVES 1, MARLINS 0: At Atlanta, Mike Hampton gave Atlanta another reason to celebrate, pitching seven scoreless innings on an ailing knee, and a homer by light-hitting Dewayne Wise in the seventh provided the only run in a victory over Florida. Hampton (12-9) made his first start since Sept. 11, when he tore cartilage in his left knee.

REDS 7, PIRATES 4: At Pittsburgh, Paul Wilson became Cincinnati's second 10-game winner in two nights, and the Reds used a five-run first inning to beat Pittsburgh. Jason LaRue drove in four runs for the Reds, who have won four straight and sent the Pirates to their fifth loss in a row.

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