Sammy Sosa fell two homers behind Mark McGwire, but went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth as the Cubs (89-72) beat the Astros 4-2 and remained tied with San Francisco for the NL wild-card lead going into the season's final day.
With two outs in the ninth, closer Rod Beck fielded Dave Clark's topper near the first-base line and made an unsuccessful attempt at a tag. Beck's throw to first then hit Clark in the back, but plate umpire Eric Gregg called Clark out for leaving the baseline trying to elude the tag before the throw.With the score 1-1 and one out in the eighth, Sosa singled off Jay Powell (7-7). Mark Grace also singled, and both runners scored on a two-out double by Gary Gaetti.
GIANTS 8, ROCKIES 4: At Denver, Stan Javier homered twice to double his season total as the surging Giants, who trailed Chicago by five games just nine days earlier, won their sixth straight and remained tied with the Cubs.
With the score 1-all, San Francisco broke open the game with a five-run fourth. Orel Hershiser (11-10) allowing four runs and eight hits in 51/3 innings.
BRAVES 4, METS 0: At Atlanta, New York (88-73) lost its fourth straight and dropped out of a tie in the wild-card race. The Mets, who have scored five runs in their last 35 innings, must win Sunday and hope both Chicago and San Francisco lose.
If that happens, there would be a three-way tie and New York would play San Francisco at Shea Stadium on Monday. The winner would be home against the Cubs the following day.
CARDINALS 7, EXPOS 6: At St. Louis, Mark McGwire record 67th and 68th home runs weren't enough to give his team a win, the Cardinals losing to the Expos.
Montreal got the go-ahead run on ninth-inning doubles by Orlando Cabrera and pinch-hitter Scott Livingstone off Mike Busby (5-2). Ugueth Urbina (6-3) worked a scoreless eighth and Rick DeHart finished for his first career save.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, PADRES 2: At Phoenix, Matt Williams hit his 299th career homer and Gregg Olson got his 30th save. Coupled with Tampa Bay's 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the victory gave the Diamondbacks (65-96) expansion supremacy for the year. The Devil Rays cannot finish with more than 64 wins.
Anthony Telemaco (7-10) allowed five hits and two runs in 62/3 innings and had an RBI double.
REDS 6, PIRATES 2: At Cincinnati, Eddie Taubensee hit a three-run homer and Pete Harnisch (14-7) became the Reds' first 14-game winner since Pete Schourek went 18-7 in 1995.
Pittsburgh ran itself out of a three-run homer when Jose Guillen passed Adrian Brown as they rounded second base on Kevin Brown's fourth-inning drive, turning it into a two-run shot. Jason Schmidt (11-14) was the loser. Pittsburgh had dropped seven straight.
MARLINS 4 PHILLIES 3 At Miami, Curt Schilling became the fifth pitcher in major league history to strike out 300 batters in consecutive seasons, fanning Kevin Orie in the seventh inning of a doubleheader opener.
Florida won in the 10th inning on Dave Berg's two-out double off Yorkis Perez (0-2). Antonio Alfonseca (4-6) pitched two innings for the victory.
In the second game, Alex Gonzalez's 13th-inning homer off Ricky Bottalico (1-5) gave the Marlins their first-ever doubleheader sweep. Rob Stanifer (2-4) faced one batter, throwing a called third strike past Mark Lewis with the bases loaded in the top half.
BREWERS 6, DODGERS 1: At Los Angeles, Marquis Grissom homered twice and Scott Karl pitched shutout ball for six innings as Milwaukee beat Los Angeles.
Grissom gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the fourth with his first homer and made it 3-1 in the eighth with his 10th of the season.