The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"At least something positive happened today. The first time since '98 I hit one. I was a junior in high school."
-- Pirates starter Paul Maholm, who took an ugly loss to the Mets but still managed to hit his first homer since high school.
Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 1
By now you know that Washington landed a third straight win, and it did so in dramatic fashion. And you know they did so with a borderline miraculous play in the bottom of the seventh. So, if you haven't already, make sure to read Chico's fish-wrap magnum opus on 9-2, then consider the fact that Jesus Flores won't be able to help build on momentum because of a foul-ball induced shoulder contusion.
Mets 10, Pirates 1
The Mets scored five runs in the fourth inning. The Pirates scored one all game, from their pitcher. That's the kind of mismatch New York served up early Saturday afternoon at Citi Field, wrapping up a seventh-straight win. New York will go for a third-straight series sweep and this time they'll even have Manager Jerry Manuel back in the dugout, after he missed Saturday's win on short notice because of a one-game suspension for making contact with an official.
Dodgers 8, Giants 0
Clearly, L.A. wasn't willing to let the malaise continue. With another young starter on the mound -- Eric Stultz -- the Dodgers provided plenty of offense, and Stultz then proved he didn't even need it, rolling to his second career shutout with a complete game four-hitter. That's the kind of performance the Dodgers will need to put the Manny Ramirez debacle behind them, while tomorrow will bring another opportunity for blazing hot Giants second baseman Emmanuel Burriss to push his average skyward. The young D.C. product had two of the Giants' four hits, pushing his average up to .266.
Braves 6, Phillies 2
With a FOX Sports matinee providing plenty of eyeballs, the Braves proved they're not going to fall out the NL East altogether, using a dominant performance from Javier Vazquez -- two runs, four hits and seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings -- in the bandbox that is Citizen's Bank Park. Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez both went deep for the Phillies, but that wasn't enough to get a second straight win after their two losses in New York.
Brewers 12, Cubs 6
A week ago, there was concern that Ryan Braun might be headed to the DL because of a shoulder injury. Miraculously, that not only hasn't kept him from the lineup, it hasn't kept him from knocking out ridiculous homers. This time, Braun backed another quality outing from Yovani Gallardo, who gave up two runs in five innings in a start that was below his earlier games this season, but still a quality outing nonetheless.
Astros 5, Padres 4
Don't look now, but Houston might actually be hitting its stride. This time, the Astros launched an eighth inning rally predicated by a key Miguel Tejada hit, then held off a similar rally by San Diego in the bottom half of the frame. That followed a strong start from Brian Moehler, who went seven innings while allowing only a single run.
Reds 8, Cardinals 3
For the first month of the season, the Cardinals seemed almost unbeatable. Then they played the Reds in Cincinnati, and suddenly they couldn't win. That kryptonite made Aaron Harang's 31st birthday a memorable one, with the Reds ace improving to .500 (3-3) thanks in large part to a monstrous sixth inning, in which the Reds batted around and racked up five runs on Kyle Lohse, who fell to 3-2 with the loss.
Marlins 3, Rockies 1
The NL East race is getting thicker, and the Marlins wanted to make sure they're going along for the ride. Josh Johnson took care of that with eight scoreless innings, holding Colorado to seven hits across the stretch en route to a second-straight win. Johnson was efficient, needing only 109 pitching in the eight frames while racking up only five strikeouts on a day in which he said his warmup was "horrible."
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