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HUNTER LIFTS PHILS TO VICTORY

Brian Hunter didn't need to do much with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. He did just enough for Philadelphia to win.

Hunter's pinch single scored Marlon Anderson in the ninth inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins on Friday night.

"Every player wants to be up in that situation," Hunter said. "Going up, I wanted to hit the ball up the middle. I saw the shortstop diving for it and I just hoped it got through."

The Phillies, who moved within a half-game of Atlanta in the NL East, have won six of seven games. They have also won their last seven straight over the Marlins and are 8-0 at home against Florida.

"I don't know what we have to do to win a game here," Marlins manager Tony Perez said. "We got great pitching but couldn't get any runs."

Anderson led off the inning with a single off Vladimir Nunez (4-5) and went to third on Pat Burrell's single. Travis Lee was intentionally walked to load the bases before Nunez retired Felipe Crespo on a pop up.

Hunter then bounced a single up the middle past a diving Alex Gonzalez at shortstop to win it.

"That was a big hit but Brian's a professional," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "He stays ready, he's a veteran."

Jose Mesa (2-3) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to get the win, retiring Gonzalez on a shallow fly ball to keep the game scoreless.

Both starters were coming off long rests. Philadelphia's Omar Daal had not pitched since Sept. 9 and Florida's A.J. Burnett hadn't thrown since Sept. 7 as a result of baseball's six-day shutdown following last week's terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

But the layoff did not seem to effect either pitcher as they each pitched seven scoreless innings.

Daal had a season-high 10 strikeouts and allowed four hits and two walks. He allowed just two runners to advance to second.

"If we didn't get a good game from Omar, we wouldn't have won this game," Bowa said. "He threw an unbelievable game and we needed it."

Cards win eighth straight

PITTSBURGH -- Albert Pujols hit his first grand slam -- a go-ahead shot in the ninth that also gave him the major league record for extra base hits by a rookie -- and drove in five runs as St. Louis won its eighth in a row, beating Pittsburgh, 9-5.

"He's got 125 RBIs, and 100 of them have been just like today," Cards manager Tony La Russa said of Pujols. "He's been incredible. I'm running out of ways to describe him."

Pujols also doubled in a run in the fifth and has 83 extra-base hits, one more than Johnny Frederick's total for Brooklyn in 1929.

It was Pujols' second five-RBI performance in four games.

Around the horn

Fred McGriff drove in a season-high five runs with a double and home run, and Sammy Sosa hit his 55th homer, powering the Cubs over the Astros, 12-4. . . . Ken Griffey Jr. hit a three-run homer to lead the Reds to a 5-2 win over the Brewers, who struck out 10 times in the game, breaking the major league record for most strikeouts in a season with 1,272. . . . Todd Helton singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning for his 500th career RBI, leading the Rockies over the Expos, 11-9.

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