The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"We've got to win games to make the playoffs. We're not playing good baseball and it's time to start."
-- Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, after his team's latest loss -- a woeful setback to the Astros -- let the Braves pull within four games of Philadelphia in the NL East.
Nationals 2, Mets 1
Wait, the Nats won a game? And even more striking, Ross Detwiler won a game? Are we sure? Shouldn't we double-, nay, triple-check that? Well, it seems it's true, with the rookie starter finally earned his elusive first victory, shutting down the Mets, who all seem to be shut down by injury or playing out the string even more blatantly than the Nats. Detwiler allowed just seven hits and a single run in six innings, eventually giving way to strong relief from Jason Bergmann and Mike MacDougal, who got back on track with his 17th save of the season.
Braves 4, Marlins 0
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race. The Braves pulled within two games of the idle Rockies in the NL Wild Card chase, edging fellow chasers Florida behind a dominant shutout performance by Jair Jurrjens. The Atlanta ace allowed just five hits in seven innings in front of homestanding banners that simply read "believe", lifting the Braves to their 15th win in 17 games. Making matters more interesting, the Braves pulled within four games of the severely slumping Phillies, making for a fascinating final week of the season. It's about time, if we do say so ourselves. Between that and the AL Central, at least we have two forums for drama over the next week ...
Pirates 11, Dodgers 1
Wrapping up the NL West was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Dodgers. It's turning out to be a nightmare. With just a single win -- or a Rockies loss -- needed to wrap up a second-straight division title, the Dodgers fell again to a perennial cellar dwellar, absorbing a rout from the Pirates, who were piloted by a near-complete game, one-run gem from starter Zach Duke. The one-time NL Rookie of the Year didn't allow a run until the ninth, sending the Dodgers back to the West Coast to walk into more supposed mop-up duty -- against the Padres -- still needing a win or some help. More drama perhaps? Something tells us not, but we can always dream, right?
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