PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Phillies took advantage of an error by right fielder Jason Heyward to beat the Atlanta Braves, 3-1, on Monday night, increasing their lead in the NL East to four games.
The two-time defending NL champions won their eighth straight game and improved to 42-15 since July 21, when they trailed the Braves by seven games.
Cole Hamels (12-10) allowed one run and six hits, striking out six in eight innings to win his fifth straight start – a career best. Brad Lidge finished for his 24th save in 29 chances.
Brandon Beachy (0-1) gave up three runs – one earned – and four hits in 4 1-3 innings in his major league debut. He was a late fill-in for Jair Jurrjens, still nursing a sore right knee.
The 24-year-old right-hander was at the Braves’ instructional league program in Florida when he got the call to join the team.
At Miami, Chris Volstad threw a five-hitter for his second career shutout and Brad Davis hit a grand slam off Chris Carpenter as Florida dealt St. Louis’ dimming playoff hopes a blow, 4-0.
The game was a makeup following a rainout on Aug. 8, and the teams needed only 1 hour, 52 minutes to finish – it was the fastest game in Marlins’ history, by 2 minutes.
Davis’ first career slam – the first by a Marlins catcher – came in the second inning, the first allowed by Carpenter (15-8) in 3,699 at-bats since June 12, 2004.
Volstad (10-9) struck out three for the Marlins, who lost the first six games of their current homestand.
The Cardinals are 12-23 since Aug. 13.
At Washington, Humberto Quintero and Geoff Blum each homered in a seven-run fifth inning, while Bud Norris won for the seventh time in eight decisions as Houston beat the mistake-prone Washington, 8-2.
Norris (9-8) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The Astros are 10-1 in his last 11 starts, with Norris going 7-1 with a 3.52 ERA during that span.
Houston has won six of eight. Washington lost its fourth straight.
The Nationals committed three errors leading to four unearned runs in the fifth, when the Astros erased Washington’s 2-1 lead with their highest-scoring inning of the season. (AP)