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The Wrap: NL

NL Quote of the Night:

"It was a masterpiece against a club that's been as hot as anybody."

-- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa on Joel Pineiro's stunning complete-game, three-hitter against the Cubs on Tuesday night.

Pirates 8, Nationals 5
OK, let's play good news bad news. Good news: The Nats chipped and clawed away at a deficit, even tying the game in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The bad news: They lost. Again. And while the bullpen provided significantly less self-flagellation than the night before, it was still responsible for another loss, thanks to the three run homer allowed by Joe Beimel in the top of the 10th. And, as is so often the case with the Nationals, the most encouraging moves came in what happened off the field, with the team designating Alex Cintron for assignment (something tells us he won't be missed) and awarding a second start to rookie Ross Detwiler.

Braves 8, Rockies 1
How good was Jair Jurrjens' start? Good enough that he would have won even if he was dealing with the anemic offense Atlanta had put up in the three games entering Tuesday night's face off. Instead, he got eight runs behind him, which was good for an easy fourth win, thanks in large part to Casey Kotchman's three hits and RBI.

Phillies 4, Reds 3
Now the Phillies are rolling. Taking the team's fifth straight on the road, Philadelphia got to a pitcher who entered as nearly untouchable, Johnny Cueto, for four runs while Cole Hamels took a first step toward hitting his stride by limiting Cincinnati to three runs in its own, offense-heavy park. Although, maybe Hamels should have seen that coming. After all, he's now 3-0 at Great American Ballpark.

Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 3
So, what A.J. Hinch needed to really get his managerial tenure underway was a nice visit to Florida, where the Diamondbacks and Jon Garland rolled to a win thanks to a monster, five-run seventh inning. In fact, the biggest obstacle to Arizona getting a win may have been the rain, which held away long enough for Arizona to win a second straight after losing seven of eight. Maybe Hinch just needed a little time?

Brewers 4, Astros 2
If it isn't Ryan Braun one night, it's J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder. On Tuesday, Fielder had an RBI and scored two runs, driven in by Hardy, to back Dave Bush's third win of the season, thanks to his six innings of two-run ball. The Brewers' bullpen took it from there, piloting the NL Central leaders to their 13th win in 15 games.

Cardinals 3, Cubs 0
Major rivalry games feel strange in the middle of the week, don't they? This one, between the Cubs and Cardinals, certainly did, with Joel Pineiro's three-hitter fitting the odd bill. The right hander issued only 28 balls to the 28 batters he faced in a complete-game three-hitter. That made a hard-luck loser out of Ted Lilly, who lasted eight innings while allowing only three runs himself, despite eventually taking the loss.

Padres 2, Giants 1

When you don't hit for a ton, you need the hits you have to make an impact. The Padres certainly did that on Tuesday, with both Jerry Hairston Jr. and Nick Hundley ruining a complete game start from the resurgent Barry Zito in San Diego's latest nailbiting win. Lanky starter Chris Young earned the win by lasting six inning while allowing San Francisco's only run, three innings fewer than Zito, but appropriately better backed. As for local product Emmanuel Burriss, he was dropped back down to the eight spot in the lineup, where his 0 for 3 night dropped his average to .252 for the season. Hey, you can't win them all.

Dodgers 5, Mets 3
How good is Chad Billingsley? It's starting to look like he's very, very good. The young L.A. starter earned his sixth win of the young season, refusing to be phased by three early New York runs while allowing his team to rally and earn him a win. That victory, however, owes a lot to a sixth-inning homer from Casey Blake, whose three-run bomb gave the Dodgers a lead for good, thanks to Jonathan Broxton's 10th save of the season.

By Cameron Smith  |  May 20, 2009; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  The Wrap: NL  
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