The Washington Nationals maintained their momentum at the top of National League East with a 2-0 defeat of the Kansas City Royals.

A two-run first inning was the extent of the scoring, setting up the Nationals for a fourth successive victory.

The New York Mets kept in touch - Bartolo Colon delivered eight shut-out innings in the 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Elsewhere, National League Central pacesetters the Chicago Cubs moved four games clear of nearest rivals Pittsburgh with a 7-2 success at PNC Park - and the St Louis Cardinals made ground on the Pirates with a 10-3 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phillies.

National League West leaders the San Francisco Giants scored five runs in the top of the seventh to help them on the way to a 9-6 win over Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park - all the Reds' runs came in the third.

The Milwaukee Brewers ended a 19-year search for a home win over the Los Angeles Angels with an 8-5 success at Miller Park, with a four-run fifth inning doing much of the damage.

Nomar Mazara hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth and made a game-saving outfield assist in the bottom half of the inning to lead American League West leaders the Texas Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Elsewhere, the Minnesota Twins scored a welcome 6-2 win over the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners edged the Oakland Athletics 4-3, while a two-run first proved decisive as the San Diego Padres downed the Colorado Rockies 2-1.