The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"I'm a man. I'm a man. What he means by that, I don't know."
-- Mets Manager Jerry Manuel on what his ace, Johan Santana, told him when he came to pull him from the game in the eighth inning.
Reds 3, Nationals 2
Sure, the Nats lost on the field, but they won where it counted: In the draft room. At least that's the early verdict from having the stones to select Stephen Strasburg at No. 1, even though he'll almost certainly be as hard to sign as anyone the Nats have ever negotiated for. Maybe by the time Strasburg should eventually sign -- around the August 15 deadline -- he'll be trying to fill in for Jordan Zimmermann, who was scratched from last night's start.
Braves 4, Pirates 3
Does Pittsburgh have to keep losing by a single run? Yunel Escobar was the biggest bandito of the Buccos on Tuesday, with his 3 for 4 game pushing Atlanta past Pittsburgh in Georgia. Derek Lowe stuck around long enough -- he allowed three runs in seven innings -- to earn his seventh win of the season, all made even more significant by the fact that the next pitcher in the free agent salary range was Oliver Perez, who is stuck rehabbing a shoulder injury in Florida right now. Wonder how Mets GM Omar Minaya feels about that, huh?
Mets 6, Phillies 5
New York ace Johan Santana didn't have it with his arm, but he did with his bat. Unable to shut down the Phillies as he does when at his best, Santana instead turned to his bat, doubling in a run in the sixth inning (it was only his fifth career RBI) to help him move past the four home runs he gave up to Philadelphia. That made up for Santana's frustration at being lifted during the eighth inning, and it helps the Mets make a legitimate charge at the NL East lead. Now, if only New York can find two more Santana characters ...
Marlins 4, Cardinals 3
Now, it's official: St. Louis is in a slump. The Cardinals couldn't hold off the Marlins despite an early 3-0 lead, eventually capitulating to a hot-hitting Florida team on Tuesday night in Miami. Rick Ankiel led the Cardinals with a 2 for 3 game despite the loss, which came at the hands of a late Jeremy Hermida homer.
Rockies 3, Brewers 2
OK, now we're convinced: The Rockies are on to something. Colorado knocked off tough Milwaukee on the road, using a three-run rally in the seventh inning to knock off the Brew Crew. Carlos Gonzalez, a new Colorado call-up from AAA. had two doubles and an RBI, helping justify his promotion almost immediately ...
Cubs 7, Astros 1a>
Last year, when Chicago played "at" Houston, they had an enormous home field advantage in Milwaukee. This time, they didn't need it, with Ted Lilly pitching effectively into the seventh inning, giving the Cubs plenty of time to take control of Tuesday night's game. Mike Fontenot hit a solo homer and Andres Blanco added a two-run double for the Cubs, who continued their regular season dominance over Houston.
Giants 9, Diamondbacks 4
San Francisco had to take an overnight flight from Florida to get to Arizona, yet that didn't seem to sap its offensive energy. Third baseman/uber-utilityman Pablo Sandoval had four hits and shortstop Edgar Renteria added three, helping the Giants roll to a win in the desert for Matt Cain, who seems to be getting the benefit of all the run support that eluded him last year. Cain has won five straight, is 8-1 on the year and has dropped his ERA down to 2.55, making him a prime early Cy Young (not to mention All-Star) candidate. Now, can you imagine if the Diamondbacks were providing the same support for Dan Haren?
Dodgers 6, Padres 4
One good way to win a divisional game: Hit four homers. No, it didn't work for the Phillies in New York last night, but that was precisely what did the trick for the Dodgers, who battered San Diego's jolly giant, Chris Young, en route to their major league-leading 40th win. The victory was largely overshadowed by the first public comments from Manny Ramirez since his performance enhancing drugs suspension (here's the highlight: "I didn't kill nobody and I didn't rape nobody"), but it was still another solid performance from a lineup that is starting to look positively terrifying. And that's without Ramirez in it. All four homers on Tuesday came against Young -- two of them were hit by Andre Eithier -- but L.A.'s bats have had no trouble teeing off against other starters, either ... and there's no reason to believe they'll be slowing down anytime soon.
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