The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"I thought that was a really big at-bat. It made us kind of relax a little and say, 'You know what, we can score some runs off this guy.'"
-- Rockies slugger and elder statesman Todd Helton, on a bases loaded walk off New York starter Mike Pelfrey by Garrett Atkins, a moment which Helton felt turned the tide during Tuesday's Colorado win.
Padres 4, Nationals 1
Well, evidently we're back to the same old Nats, which probably means we'll be seeing a new sherriff in town come next spring. After a strong opening push following the appointment of manager Jim Riggleman, the Nats seem to have plateaued back below mediocrity, falling for the fifth straight game, this time while racking up a measly four hits off budding Padres starter Clayton Richard, one of the key assets San Diego received in the Jake Peavy trade. He looked like the real deal, while Washington rookie J.D. Martin looked eerily like a rookie pitcher with a 3-4 record and a 4.60 ERA. The funny thing is that Richard's numbers are pretty similar, they just looked to be in another class entirely for a single night.
Phillies 1, Giants 0
Suddenly, Cole Hamels is right back in postseason form. The reigning NLCS and World Series MVP pitched a complete game two-hitter against a surging San Francisco squad, piloting the Phillies to a 1-0 win over a potential first round playoff opponent. Hamels was sharp, showing control of his entire arsenal of pitches, and he kept San Francisco's relatively limited bats guessing. All of that conspired to make Giants youngster Jonathan Sanchez an incredibly hard luck loser, falling yet again in a close game he probably should have one. Oh, the frailties of weak offenses ...
Braves 4, Marlins 3
Just in time for a furious, last second Wild Card push, the Braves are getting starter Tim Hudson back on the mound. If his rainy first outing is any indication, he might help keep guys in Atlanta uniforms pitching for a little bit longer, too. Hudson allowed two runs through 5 1/3 innings of work in his first action of the 2009 season, lifting Atlanta to a second straight win over Florida in a battle royale to stay in the NL Wild Card race. The Braves bullpen also came through for a second straight night, using 3 2/3 innings of two-hit, one run ball to ensure that Atlanta would still be in the playoff hunt, not the Marlins, who couldn't use a rain delay of nearly three hours to the team's advantage. Sometimes it's just not in the cards, huh?
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