Robin Ventura and the New York Mets have the Atlanta Braves in unfamiliar territory _ second place.

The Mets, 15-4 since the All-Star break, are a game in front of the Braves, who lost to Pittsburgh 7-1 after the Mets defeated Milwaukee 10-3 Tuesday night. It's the first time since 1994 that the Braves have been out been out of first place in August.

Ventura went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for the Mets and has six homers and 12 RBIs in his last seven games. He had RBI singles in the first and third innings and hit his 24th homer for a 6-2 lead in the fifth. He walked in the seventh and added a single in the eighth.

``Over the course of my career, I've been streaky in that way,'' Ventura said. ``For a long period of time I won't hit a lot of home runs, and then I'll go for a while where I hit them, usually more in the second half than the first half, and I don't know why.''

In other NL games, it was Cincinnati 2, Colorado 1; Philadelphia 6, Florida 5; St. Louis 6, San Diego 0; Montreal 9, the Cubs 4; Houston 7, Los Angeles 2; and San Francisco 3, Arizona 1.

Orel Hershiser (11-8) allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings and Mike Piazza hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs for visiting New York.

Piazza had an RBI groundout in the first and his 23rd home run in the eighth.

Hershiser allowed six hits, struck out four and walked two. Masato Yoshii, demoted to the bullpen, retired the side on four pitches in the ninth.

It was Yoshii's first relief appearance after 49 starts for the Mets.

Bill Pulsipher (3-2) allowed six runs _ four earned _ and nine hits in five innings in his first start against his former team.

Pirates 7, Braves 1

At Pittsburgh, Kris Benson pitched four-hit ball for eight innings, and all four Pirates hits off Atlanta starter Kevin Millwood were solo homers.

The Pirates didn't have a hit until Kevin Young hit his 16th homer to start the fifth, then proceeded to hit three more homers off Millwood (12-6) _ by Al Martin, Brian Giles and Warren Morris _ in the next two innings.

Benson (9-8) has allowed two runs on 10 hits in 17 innings in his last two starts.

Reds 2, Rockies 1

Aaron Boone hit a tiebreaking single with the bases loaded in the bottom of ninth for Cincinnati.

The Reds won for the eighth time in 10 games and beat a wild Mike DeJean (2-4). DeJean came on with one out in the ninth and walked Greg Vaughn, gave up a single to Barry Larkin and walked Eddie Taubensee to load the bases. Boone then lined his first pitch to left for the win.

Scott Williamson (10-4) worked out of a ninth-inning jam to earn the victory.

Phillies 6, Marlins 5

At Miami, Rico Brogna and Mike Lieberthal hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to lift Philadelphia.

Chad Ogea, an emergency starter for the Phillies, held Florida hitless the first five innings. He left after giving up three runs and three hits in the sixth inning.

Curt Schilling was scheduled to start for the Phillies, but he returned to Philadelphia about two hours before game time upon learning that his pregnant wife was hospitalized.

Brogna led off the eighth with his 14th homer. Lieberthal followed with his 22nd off Brian Edmondson (4-6).

Amaury Telemaco (3-0) pitched the seventh for the win. Wayne Gomes allowed two runs in the ninth before getting his 16th save.

Cardinals 6, Padres 0

At St. Louis, Darren Oliver pitched a four-hit shutout and Mark McGwire's drive for 500 homers stalled.

Oliver (7-7) had a career-high 11 strikeouts and walked two to win his third straight start and pitch his third career shutout. The four hits allowed were a career low.

The Padres' Tony Gwynn went 0-for-4 to remain at career 2,995 hits.

McGwire, who singled and scored twice, has 498 career homers.

Craig Paquette went 2-for-4 with a homer, double and three RBIs in his Cardinals debut.

Brian Boehringer (6-4) worked seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits.

Expos 9, Cubs 4

Vladimir Guerrero, Shane Andrews and Chris Widger hit solo home runs as Montreal won at Chicago, the Expos' fourth straight win.

Brad Fullmer, Orlando Cabrera and pitcher Javier Vazquez each drove in two runs for the Expos.

The Cubs lost for the ninth time in 11 games, spoiling the first career start for Micah Bowie (0-2), acquired Saturday from Atlanta.

Sammy Sosa went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts to remain tied with McGwire for the major league home run lead at 41.

Vazquez (5-5) gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.

Astros 7, Dodgers 2

Mike Hampton allowed three hits in seven innings to win his sixth straight decision and become the second 15-game winner in the NL.

Hampton (15-3) won for the 10th time in his last 11 starts and matched Kent Bottenfield of St. Louis with his 15th victory.

The Astros won for the ninth time in 11 games. The visiting Dodgers have lost 11 of 14 games.

The Astros scored five runs after two outs in the third inning off Darren Dreifort (8-11).

Giants 3, Diamondbacks 1

Charlie Hayes hit a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth inning, and Livan Hernandez won his first game in San Francisco's victory at Arizona.

The second-place Giants cut Arizona's NL West lead to 2 1/2 games.

Hernandez (6-10), in his second start since being acquired by the Giants, allowed two hits in seven innings. Robb Nen pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 30 opportunities.