Brad Penny and the Giants agreed to a minor league contract last night, adding another proven arm to San Francisco's strong rotation for the stretch run.

Penny cleared waivers after he was released by Boston last week. Because he reached a deal with San Francisco by Aug. 31, he is eligible for postseason play with the Giants.

San Francisco, idle yesterday before opening a series against the Phillies tonight, is tied with Colorado for the NL wild-card lead and looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Penny is expected to pitch tomorrow night against the NL East-leading Phillies.

The 31-year-old righthander was cut by the Red Sox on Thursday after going 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA this season - including 1-6 in his last 11 starts. Boston signed the two-time All-Star to a $5 million, 1-year contract last winter after he spent four-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Penny won 16 games for the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, his career high. He was hampered by shoulder problems last year.

With injured lefty Randy Johnson on the 60-day disabled list, Penny gives San Francisco another accomplished starter to join reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez.

Penny went 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts during the 2003 World Series, helping Florida beat the New York Yankees.

He is expected to join the Giants today in Philadelphia. Before he can pitch tomorrow, San Francisco must make a move to clear a spot for him on the 25-man roster.

The Giants have an opening in their rotation tomorrow after pushing Lincecum back to Thursday to give him an extra day of rest. San Francisco optioned fifth starter Joe Martinez to Triple A Fresno on Friday.

In other news:

* Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Beltran, sidelined since June 22 with a bone bruise on his right knee, was cleared to play without his knee brace.

In other Mets news, pitchers Johan Santana and Oliver Perez are scheduled for surgery today. Santana will have bone chips removed from his left elbow. Perez will have scar tissue extracted from the patella tendon of his right knee.

In games yesterday:

* At Miami, Omar Infante hit a two-run triple in the seventh and Kenshin Kawakami (7-10) pitched six effective innings to carry the Atlanta Braves past the Florida Marlins, 5-2. Marlins ace Josh Johnson (13-4) did not allow a hit until the sixth inning when Matt Diaz lined a 2-2 slider to centerfield with two outs. David Ross, Adam LaRoche, and Yunel Escobar each drove in a run for the Braves.

* At Cincinnati, Brandon Phillips hit one homer and had another overturned after a review, and the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, to complete a doubleheader sweep that drew the two smallest crowds in Great American Ball Park's history. Fewer than 2,000 fans saw Darnell McDonald score on a wild pitch from Jesse Chavez (0-4) in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 win in the opener.

* At Chicago, Carlos Lee hit a two-run home run and drove in four runs, leading the Houston Astros to a 5-3 victory over the Cubs. Lee has hit 20 of his 31 homers against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Roy Oswalt (8-5) pitched seven strong innings for Houston, who won for just the second time in eight games.

* At San Diego, Livan Hernandez threw the 47th complete game of his career but his Washington Nationals dropped a 3-1 decision to the Padres.