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METS SHOW OVERUSED SHAW WHO'S BOSS

Edgardo Alfonzo got a lot of help from three teammates in wearing down an already worn Jeff Shaw.

Alfonzo hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Shaw on Saturday to give the New York Mets a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After fouling off three pitches, Alfonzo hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-center field seats for his 12th homer.

Shaw (3-8), a loser to the Mets for the second time in as many days, retired pinch hitters Lenny Harris and Matt Franco before Tony Phillips drew a walk, setting the stage for Alfonzo.

It was what Harris and Franco did before being retired that caught the attention of the Mets.

"Those two at-bats are what got that pitch to Alfonzo," manager Bobby Valentine said, referring to several foul balls hit by Harris and Franco. "They did whatever they could without actually getting a hit."

Shaw, who pitched two innings and used 31 pitches in a 5-4, 10-inning loss Friday night, needed 34 in this game -- his fifth in six days and third loss during that time.

After retiring Harris and Franco, Shaw walked Phillips on five pitches.

"I knew this guy was a little tired, he threw a lot of pitches," said Alfonzo, who has hit six homers in his last 26 games. "The first two guys worked him pretty good."

Alfonzo said he didn't believe it was his first game-winning homer, but couldn't remember hitting another.

"I knew I hit it pretty good, with the good spot on the bat," he said. "This feels great. I've got two strikes, I'm just trying to hit the ball somewhere. When you don't expect a home run, it will come."

Harris said he sees a big difference in Shaw.

"It seems like he's wearing down," Harris said. "He's a workhorse and everything. To me, it seems like he needs a week off."

Shaw, who has 38 saves and a 2.26 ERA, was traded by the Reds to the Dodgers on July 4. He has 15 saves since the trade.

"I'm getting a little tired," he admitted. "Those were a couple of tough days mentally, yesterday and today. It's the dog days."

Al Leiter (13-5) won for the 10th time in 12 decisions, allowing five hits and three runs in eight innings. John Franco earned his 30th save.

Reds 7, Marlins 5

CINCINNATI -- Reggie Sanders had a two-run double and Barry Larkin tripled in the winning run in the seventh as Cincinnati sent Florida to its 89th loss -- the most ever for a defending World Series champion.

The Reds improved to 8-0 against the Marlins this season and relinquished their major league record for worst encore by a defending Series champion. The 1991 Reds lost 88 games after sweeping Oakland in the World Series.

Giants 10, Phillies 3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Joe Carter homered and Mark Gardner pitched his fourth complete game for San Francisco in its romp over Philadelphia.

Gardner (11-5) is 3-0 in six starts since losing at Montreal on July 30. He allowed three runs and eight hits, walked one and struck out five.

Rockies 7, Cubs 3

DENVER -- Sammy Sosa didn't homer but Colorado's Larry Walker and Kurt Abbott did, and Bobby Jones (7-7) pitched seven strong innings as the Rockies downed Chicago.

Sosa, who remained at 53 and one behind St. Louis' Mark McGwire in their pursuit of Roger Maris' single-season homer record of 61, went 1 for 4 with an infield single and two strikeouts.

Astros 6, Pirates 3

HOUSTON -- Bill Spiers hit an inside-the-park home run and Jose Lima pitched 7 2/3 strong innings as Houston beat Pittsburgh.

Lima (14-6) allowed seven hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter en route to his sixth straight victory. He helped the Astros to their 20th victory in August, tying the club record for a month set in May 1969.

Expos 3, Padres 1

SAN DIEGO -- Dustin Hermanson (12-10) limited San Diego to three hits in 7 2/3 innings and hit his second career home run as Montreal beat the Padres.

Montreal's Vladimir Guererro hit his 35th homer to move within one of the club's single-season record set by Henry Rodriguez in 1996.

Diamondbacks 4, Brewers 3

PHOENIX -- Fernando Vina committed two errors in the bottom of the ninth inning to allow Arizona to rally past Milwaukee.

Vina's wild throw with two outs in the ninth allowed Devon White to score the winning run.

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