The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Day:
"I had fun today. I felt good the whole game."
-- Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, illuminating the obvious feeling of a pitcher who carries a no-hitter into the eighth inning.
Phillies 8, Nationals 6
Want to know how it feels to lose in the most embarrassing and disappointing way possible, with a bizarre fielding error that gave Philadelphia a window to a sweep (although the bullpen certainly played a role in the debacle, too). We'd tell you more about it, but that would deprive Chico of what is truly amazing prose in the face of abject ineptitude, and that would be cruel. We won't excerpt too much of his masterpiece in D.C. disappointment, but this tag line is too much not to throw in here. "The Nationals (11-25) achieved this not because they're entirely inept; rather, just the opposite. This team, with its offense humming at a playoff-caliber level, still manages to lose almost every night. Losing when you have no chance requires no tricks; losing when you have every reason to avoid it is Washington's singular art form." Truer words about the Nationals may never have been written.
Dodgers 12, Marlins 5
Hey, at least on Sunday there weren't any shiny pompom strands. The bad news for Florida was that Clayton Kershaw was humming, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up four hits and a run in that final frame before his departure. Meanwhile, the Dodgers-minus-Manny drilled struggling John Koronka again, scoring four earned runs (six total) off the Florida starter before he was yanked in the third inning.
Pirates 11, Rockies 4
Zach Duke needed a win to get back on track, and he needed some help from Pittsburgh's offense to make it happen. He got that and a lot more in the seventh inning, with the Buccos racking up 10 runs in the span of three outs to roll past visiting Colorado on Sunday. That gave Duke a fifth win of the season and sent Pittsburgh off on the road with another win, just what they needed to get a little momentum before their latest road trip.
Brewers 8, Cardinals 2
Boy, the NL Central is getting interesting, isn't it? With a chance to take a big stride past a division rival and maintain the momentum that has made them one of baseball's hottest team, the Brewers racked up eight runs against St. Louis to back Manny Parra's latest victory. It's a win that even's Parra's career record at 13-13 and gave Milwaukee it's fifth straight win, and 11th in 13 games. The ever-versatile Craig Counsell had a big hand in that with his 2 for 4 game, though a fifth homer of the year from Prince Fielder -- a three-run shot -- never hurts, either.
Astros 6, Cubs 5
Chicago can't win them all, even when it's really hot, and it only feels fitting that the Astros would win on a day that catcher Ivan Rodriguez hit a milestone homer. That would be No. 300 in Pudge's career, a fourth-inning shot that, combined with two hits for Lance Berkman, lifted Houston to a series salvaging win in Wrigley Field. That came at the expense of Rich Harden, who suffered only his second loss of the year after breezing through the first three innings, a frustrating setback for a pitcher and team that truly seemed to be on the fast track to -- eventually -- a significant divisional lead.
Padres 3, Reds 1
Now this is the Jake Peavy everyone expects to see every fifth day. The San Diego ace tossed a complete game four-hitter hours after the Padres walked away with a win in a 16-inning marathon, saving the team's bullpen in a big win for the Padres. Yet the best stat of Sunday's game was the total time it took: 2 hours 14 minutes. The length of Saturday night's (and Sunday morning's, for that matter) game? Five hours 14 minutes, exactly three hours longer. Amazing how an effective ace can speed things up, isn't it?
Giants 2, Mets 0
Who would have thought that Matt Cain vs. Mike Pelfrey would have been a much better pitcher's duel than Johan Santana vs. Randy Johnson? Not I, for one. Cain held the Mets to only three hits and no runs across six innings in a huge win for San Francisco, which had dropped eight straight to New York -- including the first three games of this home stretch against New York -- entering the game. Yet, even more odd than that, and even more odd than the fact that Cain singled in one of the two runs that supported him, is the fact that Pelfrey was called for three balks in the loss. Count 'em, three. That's something you probably won't see again, either from Pelfrey or any other single pitcher this year.
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