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The Wrap: NL

NL Quote of the Night:

"He does it every time he faces a team's ace. No matter what, we have a chance to win when he toes the rubber."

-- Braves Manager Bobby Cox, putting Atlanta's Japanese rookie starter, Kenshin Kawakami, in the same class as some of his former greats like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

Rockies 4, Nationals 1

At a certain point in a lost season, a team stops playing for its record and starts auditioning for the next year. The Nationals reached that point long ago, but have a greater collective purpose, serving as an evolving audition for interim manager Jim Riggleman. Well, that audition took a pretty big temporary hit over the past three days, with the Rockies sweeping through Washington in the thick of Colorado's NL West and Wild Card chase. On Thursday, Garrett Mock was the man whose pitching was insufficient, despite the youngster allowing only two runs on three hits in five innings. Alas, he couldn't last long enough for the Nats to qualify him for a win ... and that's because he still wouldn't qualify for a win if the teams were still playing. Rockies starter Jason Hammel held the Nats to a single run -- and only three hits -- in seven innings, improving to 8-7 on the season. If Hammel keeps pitching like that, he's going to finish with a lot more than eight wins, and Colorado very well may shock their way to the NL West title, let alone the Wild Card.

Reds 2, Giants 1
Sometimes, the most significant games in a team's season come against foes who have nothing to play for (see: Mets vs. Nats, 2007). For San Francisco, Thursday afternoon could have been one of those flash points, with the Reds rallying for a 2-1 win in 10 innings at Great American Ball Park. Reds youngster Drew Stubbs delivered the walk off homer for Cincinnati off former Nats closer Chad Cordero, handing Dusty Baker's squad a win that won't matter in the big picture of the final standings but could go a long ways toward defining any lasting pride in the Reds' season. Alas, it could be even more influential for the Giants, and not in a good way.

Astros 4, Marlins 1
Just when the Marlins seem to be so hot they can legitimately put a run on the Phillies in the NL East, Houston decides it wants to become a spoiler, and maybe an NL Wild Card contender itself in the process. The Astros knocked off the exuberant playoff hopeful Marlins for the second straight day in Houston, using another gem of a start from Wandy Rodriguez to stay undefeated without veteran catcher Pudge Rodriguez. That may seem like an anomaly -- and it probably is -- but lately back-to-back losses for the Marlins has been an anomaly, too. Hey, maybe the Astros were just channeling good karma for putting up with Roger Clemens, who was up close and personal at the juice box on Thursday? It has to be a possibility ...

See All of Thursday's Results

By Cameron Smith  |  August 21, 2009; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  The Wrap: NL  | Tags: The Wrap: NL  
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