The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"His velocity was good and he stayed after it the whole eight innings. When they had runners on base, that's when he really bore down. He's getting there."
-- Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel on improvement from staff ace Cole Hamels, who had a no decision after shutting out the Pirates through eight innings on Wednesday.
Cubs 9, Nats 4
Well, so much for that. A night after stunning the Cubs and their weary fans, Chicago got the best of a return from the first ace in Washington (well, since the team relocated to Washington) franchise history with a one-sided win. Livan Hernandez did his part, but as was the story throughout the first half, Washington's bullpen performed abhorrently, letting a lead slip away and then acquiescing to abject embarrassment, allowing six runs in the eighth inning of Chicago's win, a victory which might keep a flicker of hope for the Cubs' season alive. Angel Guzman earned the win for the Cubs, pitching in relief of Rich Harden, who didn't have his lockdown best once again. No matter for Chicago when you get to feast on Washington's bullpen, eh?
Dodgers 6, Rockies 1
L.A. needed this win, and the Dodgers got it. After falling in extra innings Tuesday night, allowing the Rockies to pull within two games in the process, Randy Wolf lifted the Dodgers to a streak-breaking victory in Denver, allowing only five hits in 7 2/3 innings. Three homers made Wolf's life easier, victimizing Josh Fogg in an uber-rare home loss for the Rockies, who will finally have their bounce back ability tested again.
Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3
If San Francisco is going to make a legitimate run at the NL Wild Card, they're going to have to take advantage of every mistake and slip Colorado has for the rest of the season run out. They did just that on Wednesday, pulling out a late win on a pinch hit homer in the eighth inning by Bengie Molina, hardly the best power hitter in the NL. Arizona is clearly on the other side of San Francisco's spectrum, though there's plenty at stake for the Diamondbacks. If Arizona Manager A.J. Hinch is to keep his job -- and if a healthy dose of his players are going to keep their roles on the team -- then more wins had better be on the way. To get those, the Diamondbacks will need to protect leads better than reliever Chad Qualls did on Wednesday, a blip which overshadowed a four-hitter from Arizona starter Doug Davis and Ryan Roberts' fifth career lead-off homer.
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