The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"He swings a big bat. He can hit. It's no surprise. I think everybody knows if they throw one way where he is swinging he is going to hurt you."
-- Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot on Chicago pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who hit his third homer of the season in an afternoon win over the Cardinals.
Astros 5, Nationals 0
Well, it wasn't enough for the Nationals to drop their final game before the All-Star break, was it? That was only fitting. Instead, Washington felt fit to get blanked despite 11 hits, then demote young starter Ross Detwiler after the game. Really, the only thing left to do to finish off a first that truly set the stage for throwing in the towel down the stretch of the season is to fire Manager Manny Acta, isn't it? Oh wait ... they just did.
Phillies 5, Pirates 2
Don't look now, Mets fans, but the Phillies may have finally turned J.A. Haap into a pitcher, too. The longtime project held Pittsburgh to one run in seven innings as the Phillies cruised into the All-Star break with yet another win. Haap's success was made even more stark by the failure of his counterpart, Pittsburgh's Virgil Vazquez, who gave up a whopping five runs in the first inning. That's probably not the best plan to beat the reigning world champions.
Rockies 8, Braves 7
Talk about a fitting contrast: The Rockies won the final game of the first half by rallying past the Braves, just as Colorado has done consistently to turn around a season that seemed headed for the scrapheap after April. Meanwhile, the Braves couldn't pull out another game they probably should have won, allowing a late run to fall by the wayside. In the end, it was All-Star Brad Hawpe's ninth-inning single that provided the difference for Colorado, but it also could have been Houston Street's ninth inning relief appearance or the three runs that started the Rockies' rally in the seventh inning. Who knows? All that matters is that, when you look at the standings right now, Colorado is miraculously in the thick of a theoretical wild card chase while the Braves have to be wondering why they aren't closer in the NL East.
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