John Rocker might be rolling into form a week before he makes his return to New York.
The controversial closer had that ''little extra'' on his fastball, striking out the side in the ninth inning Friday night to preserve the Atlanta Braves' 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rocker, awful in his last outing on Wednesday, said the difference against the Brewers was his left thumb.
''Tonight was actually the first night it hadn't bled since spring training,'' Rocker said of a thumb abrasion that has bothered him all season.
In other NL games, it was St. Louis 9, Los Angeles 6 in 12 innings; San Francisco 10, Houston 3; Philadelphia 13, Montreal 6; Florida 6, Chicago 1; New York 12, Pittsburgh 2; San Diego 10, Cincinnati 7 in 10 innings; and Arizona 2, Colorado 0.
Cardinals 9, Dodgers 6
Mark McGwire passed Mike Schmidt in career homers and tied Barry Bonds for the major league lead this season, but it was Craig Paquette's three-run homer in the 12th that lifted St. Louis to victory.
Giants 10, Astros 3
The homers keep flying out of Enron Field.
Bonds, Marvin Benard and Bobby Estalella homered for San Francisco, while Chris Truby hit one for Houston, boosting the homer total to 120 in 35 games at Enron -- two more than were hit all last year at the Astrodome.
Phillies 13, Expos 6
At Montreal, Mike Lieberthal had a single, double and homer and scored four runs, and Mickey Morandini had a single, double, triple and three RBIs as Philadelphia pounded 17 hits off five Expos pitchers.
Marlins 6, Cubs 1
Mike Lowell's two-run homer highlighted a four-run fifth for Florida.
Mets 12, Pirates 2
At New York, Mike Piazza's three-run homer, his 21st of the season, triggered a nine-run third inning that gave Bobby Jones (2-3) his first win since May 19.
Padres 10, Reds 7
Bret Boone had three homers against his former team and Ruben Rivera added a three-run shot in the 10th for San Diego at Cincinnati.i
Diamondbacks 2, Rockies 0
At Phoenix, Brian Anderson (7-2) allowed two hits in eight innings, and Danny Bautista hit a solo homer as Arizona extended its first-place lead in the NL West to two games over Colorado.
Byung-Hyun Kim struck out the side in the ninth for his 10th save.
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