The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"There isn't any team that wants to lose. Some are a little more fortunate, some have more money to spend, some of them draft better players. But I'm sure this organization in the near future will start winning with more regularity."
-- Cubs Manager Lou Piniella, who seems to have more confidence in Pittsburgh's bounce-back ability as a franchise than a safe majority of Pittsburghers.
Rockies 4, Reds 3
If baseball indeed is out of legitimate pennant races, the only thing left to track are the AL and NL Wild Cards. While the AL still has a touch of zest in a potential race to the wire between Boston and Texas, the NL has plenty of juice thanks to NL West rivals Colorado and San Francisco. The Rockies held up their part of the bargain on Monday, ekeing out a one-run victory over an out-manned Cincinnati squad that suddenly seems to be causing a few teams problems (again). The Rockies scored twice in the seventh and again in the eighth to rally past a strong start from Cincinnati youngster Homer Bailey ... and to get past what could be a key injury, with star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki leaving in the seventh inning with a strained back.
Giants 9, Padres 4
As for San Francisco, the Giants proved that, at least for a day, their bats can keep up with the team's stable of outstanding pitching. Brad Penny looked slightly fallible after a sterling first start in San Francisco, but the Giants more than made up for his two runs allowed, scoring six times in the opening three innings off San Diego starter Clayton Richard to cruise to a win that kept them within two games of Colorado's wild card lead. In fact, if Penny can keep up his six strikeout, one walk pace, the Giants would be an absolute rotational terror in the playoffs ... if they ever get there.
Astros 4, Phillies 3
What's with Philadelphia? Whenever the Phillies seem to be hitting stride en route to a cakewalk of the schedule's remainder, they trip up and look humbled on the road against an underwhelming opponent. This time the Astros were the boys in the cue, with Houston racking up a four-game sweep of the Phillies in Houston, thanks to the heroics of Hunter Pence, who homered and drove in three runs for the Astros. Houston took advantage of a rare spot start from aging yet everpresent Jamie Moyer, who filled in for J.A. Haap and allowed only two runs in six innings.
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