Helton had a two-run homer — his first since April 29 — and a run-scoring single off Johnny Cueto (5-2), who gave up a career-high 11 hits in only 4 2-3 innings. Troy Tulowitzki had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth.
Rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich (2-1) went five innings against an offence that had been on a home run tear — 10 in the last four games. Joey Votto had four hits for the Reds, including a pair of doubles.
NATIONALS 7, BRAVES 4
ATLANTA (AP) — Rick Ankiel hit a two-run triple in Washington's four-run first inning, Ryan Zimmerman padded the lead with a three-run double in the seventh and the first-place Nationals beat the slumping Braves.
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (1-0) won in his season debut. He gave up one run in three innings after taking over for Ross Detwiler in the fifth.
The Nationals moved two games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.
The Nationals took a 4-0 lead off Tim Hudson (3-2) in the first with Ian Desmond hitting a two-run single.
MARLINS 7, GIANTS 6
MIAMI (AP) — Chris Coghlan snapped out of a season-long slump with a tiebreaking three-run homer off Tim Lincecum in the sixth inning, and the Marlins rallied past the Giants.
Giancarlo Stanton became the first player to hit the Marlins' home run sculpture when he connected against Lincecum (2-5).
The Giants' right-hander gave up six runs in 5 2-3 innings, which hiked his ERA to 6.41. He's 0-3 in his past five starts.
The Marlins improved to 17-7 this month, best in the majors, and broke the franchise record for victories in May.
Dan Jennings (1-0) pitched a perfect sixth for his first major league win hours after being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.
PIRATES 1, CUBS 0
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A.J. Burnett and four relievers worked out of trouble all game and the Pirates sent the Chicago Cubs to their 10th straight loss.
Burnett (3-2) gave up six hits, struck out six and walked two over 5 1-3 innings and the National League's best bullpen made it stand up as the Pirates extended Chicago starter Ryan Dempster's misery. Joel Hanrahan worked out of a two-on, one out jam in the ninth for his 11th save.
Dempster (0-3) remains winless since last August, surrendering one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking one while dropping his ERA to 2.14.
METS 6, PADRES 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Dillon Gee struck out a career-high nine, won consecutive starts for the first time in nearly a year, and doubled and scored the go-ahead run to lead the Mets over the Padres.
Getting help from a fine catch and throw from left fielder Mike Baxter that led to an inning-ending double play in the first, Gee (4-3) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings.
Lucas Duda hit a tying home run in the second off Anthony Bass (2-5).
PHILLIES 5, CARDINALS 3, 10 INNINGS
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Jason Motte and the Phillies beat the Cardinals.
The Phillies won their third in a row after surviving a fourth inning in which Pence, the right fielder, and Shane Victorino, the centre fielder, lost balls in the lights. The winning runs came too late for Cliff Lee, a 17-game winner last season still seeking his first win of 2012.
Pence is 3 for 10 against Motte (3-2) with two homers and three RBIs.
Raul Valdes (2-0) struck out Tyler Greene and Matt Holliday with two on in the ninth inning to win for the second straight game. Jonathan Papelbon finished for his National League-leading 14th save.
BREWERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 1
PHOENIX (AP) — Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart homered and Yovani Gallardo maintained his mastery of Arizona on in Milwaukee's victory.
Gallardo (3-4) held the Diamondbacks to one run and five hits through 7 1-3 innings to improve to 6-0 in six career starts against Arizona. That doesn't count a victory over the Diamondbacks and Ian Kennedy in last year's divisional playoffs.
Kennedy (3-5) was the loser Friday night, too. The Arizona right-hander, a 21-game winner last season, allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings in his fifth straight loss.
Jason Kubel homered on his 30th birthday for Arizona.
ASTROS 3, DODGERS 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lucas Harrell took a shutout into the eighth inning, J.D. Martinez homered and the Astros used four relievers in the eighth to get out of a bases-loaded jam and help secure a victory over the Dodgers.
Harrell (4-3) scattered five singles, and three walks during the longest of his 15 big league starts.
Brett Myers pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances, nailing down the Astros' fourth straight victory.
Clayton Kershaw (4-2) was charged with three runs — two earned — and five hits over seven innings with six strikeouts on the fourth anniversary of his major league debut.