Frank Castillo lost his bid for a perfect game on Mike Benjamin's one-out single in the seventh inning, but he still had enough to lead the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday at Chicago.
Castillo (5-2) retired the first 19 batters, striking out the side in the fifth. He gave up four hits and one walk in eight innings and struck out 10, as he helped the Cubs win for the second time in their last 10 games.
"It was not a bad pitch to Benjamin, he just went out and got it," Castillo said. "I hit my spots and kept everything down. My confidence is up."
With one out in the seventh, Benjamin hit a clean line-drive single that bounced once and went past second baseman Rey Sanchez into center field. Before Thursday, Benjamin had set a major league record with 14 hits in his previous three games. He was one for four against Castillo.
"Castillo had a lot of pitches going for him today, and he mixed it up pretty good," Benjamin said. "I was battling on that at-bat. Castillo had me in the hole again, and I was just battling to put the ball in play."
Castillo lost his shutout when he walked Glenallen Hill and Mark Carreon singled in Benjamin. That cut Chicago's led to 2-1. Castillo made it through the eighth before Randy Myers pitched the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Barry Bonds to end the game.
St. Louis 2, San Diego 1--Mark Petkovsek (2-1), a 29-year-old rookie, pitched eight innings and Ray Lankford homered in the sixth inning to end a 14-inning scoreless drought for the Cardinals at St. Louis.
The Cardinals added a run in the eighth on a leadoff walk by Jose Oquendo, a sacrifice, a wild pitch and a two-out infield hit by Tripp Cromer off Bryce Florie. San Diego scored with two out in the ninth on Roberto Petagine's run-scoring groundout off Tom Henke, who got the final out for his 14th save in 14 chances.
Philadelphia 4, Houston 2--Pinch-hitter Tony Longmire hit a three-run home run with two out in the ninth inning to rally the Phillies at Philadelphia.
Longmire's second pinch-homer of the season stopped Houston's six-game road winning streak.
Atlanta 2, Montreal 0--Greg Maddux pitched his first shutout of the season, scattering seven hits to lead the Braves over the Expos at Montreal.
Maddux (5-1) walked none and struck out three in his third complete game in 10 starts. The three-time Cy Young Award winner lowered his earned-run average to 1.91 with his 18th shutout and 63rd complete game.
New York 5, Florida 4--Joe Orsulak grounded a run-scoring single to cap the Mets' comeback in the 10th inning after they scored three runs in the ninth to tie the score at New York.
The Mets, who lost a chance to win the game in the ninth on a disputed double-play call, scored their winning run after Todd Hundley and Ryan Thompson drew walks from Randy Veras (2-2). Orsulak then delivered the winning hit to score pinch-runner Tim Bogar.