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The Wrap: NL

NL Quote of the Night:

"I was hoping it would hit my head. I could not believe it didn't hit my head. I guess I lost too much weight."

-- Atlanta's Matt Diaz, who avoided being hit by a pitch, then delivered a game-winning, bases loaded single in the eighth.

Phillies 7, Nationals 1
When a team is as imbalanced as the Nats, you can't expect every game to be close. This one wasn't, and the kind of pitching mistakes, fielding errors and lack of hits in bulk comined for Washington's demise. But Nats fans could at least take one thing to heart: There won't be more blown Joel Hanrahan saves like there were on Monday night. That's because Hanrahan won't be the guy to blow them.

Braves 2, Cardinals 1
Every night in the NL, one game is bound to be a pitching duel. Meet your Tuesday night pitching duel. Kyle Lohse -- yes, Philly fans, that Kyle Lohse -- pitched six scoreless innings with a stomach bug, and Atlanta's Jo-Jo Reyes was almost as good. So in the end, it was up to Matt Diaz and, as you can see above, he was happy to get the job done, whether it took getting hit in the head or getting a single. All things considered, we're betting he probably was happier the way things turned out.

Astros 8, Reds 3
The schizophrenic pitching spring of Aaron Harang's 2009 continued, with the dip on the rollercoaster taking precendence on Tuesday. Harang lasted only five innings -- across which he gave up six runs -- while his counterpart, Wandy Rodriguez, soared to a second straight win. If you saw that coming, well, you've done your reading on how well Houston hits in southern Ohio. And if you have, well, kudos to you, to say the least.

Marlins 7, Mets 4
Eventually, both the Marlins and Mets will reach their level. Until then it's a true mystery trying to decipher which team's performance fits their actual potential. Tuesday night's Florida win was a case in point, with the Marlins playing like the team that started 7-0 and the Mets performing like, well, like the team that blew NL East leads two years in a row. Livan Hernandez lasted 5 1/3 innings, which is better than Oliver Perez, but not too much. It's anyone's guess how long both of those guys will still be getting the ball at the start of games.

Brewers 6, Pirates 5
In a way, it's fitting that a team of relative upstarts like the Brewers would be the group that slowed Pittsburgh's stroll through April. Milwaukee knocked off the Pirates for the second straight game, and for the second straight day the game was close until the eighth, and this time, the ninth. After building a 5-3 lead in the sixth, Pittsburgh reliever Jesse Chavez gave up the lead in relief of Paul Maholm, who had his roughest outing of the year (despite nearly delivering another quality start). Now the question is whether the Pirates can get back on track quickly, or whether the inevitable slide will already start to sink in.

Padres 4, Rockies 3
Did anyone really think Heath Bell was going to lead the Major League in saves in April? The former Mets mop-up man improved to eight-for-eight in save opportunities, and the Padres got back on track by keeping the Rockies from running them out of the game. Bell's former New York teammate, Duaner Sanchez, got the win despite an outing that hardly indicated he's close to being the pitcher he was before his infamous taxi cab accident in 2006. Nonetheless, the way San Diego has been playing, if he's going to find that form again, it'll be there.

Cubs 11, Diamondbacks 3

If Cincinnati's Micah Owings is the best hitting pitcher in the major leagues, Carlos Zambrano can't be too far behind. "Big Z" delivered a homer, single and double to back his own seven-inning, 111-pitch outing in Chicago's one-sided bounce back win. How well did Zambrano hit the ball? Well enough that he might want to back off or he'll get himself more work than he bargained for. After all, Lou Pinella will pinch hit for anyone with anyone.

Dodgers 5, Giants 3

Evidently, this year Manny Ramirez is winning to run. He scored three times after delivering doubles in a perfect, 3-for-3 night that felt eerily reminiscent of his Boston heyday and improved his on-base percentage to nearly an even .500. Young San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez pitched a solid five innings but still couldn't land a win because of Chad Billingsley, who lasted another 2 1/3 innings while giving up only two runs.


By Cameron Smith  |  April 29, 2009; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  The Wrap: NL  
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Next: The Wrap: AL

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