The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"That was nice. It was a good little gift for him. We've done everything we can to get back in this."
-- Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche, on beating the Mets hours after longtime Braves Manager Bobby Cox announced 2010 will be his last season.
Nationals 5, Dodgers 4
For one night, the Nats made a great escape from 100 losses. Sure, they'd have to win 12 more times in a row to avoid a century of losses, but that should hardly diminish what Washington accomplished on Wednesday night, knocking off a playoff-bound, future division winner led by one of the most promising young(ish) pitchers in the game. The Nats racked up three runs off Chad Billingsley despite recording only one hit off the Dodgers hurler in six innings. Then, after allowing the Dodgers to rally and tie the game in the top of the ninth, the Nats walked off in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a majestic Justin Maxwell steal and a rare Pete Orr walk-off hit. Something tells us they won't win the rest of the slate, but Tuesday night's game was yet another example of how the Nats haven't completely thrown in the towel yet.
Marlins 7, Phillies 6
Three innings, four runs, one massive comeback. That's what transpired in Miami on Wednesday, with the Marlins rallying past the reigning World Series champions, at the expense of Brad Lidge, who fell to 0-8 after yet another dismal attempt at trying to put out an opponent's fire. All of that cost Cole Hamels another potential win, something he probably won't be thrilled about heading to the postseason. Considering the fact that Florida isn't eliminated yet, the Phillies are probably just hoping that this is the last time that Hamels will be facing off against the fish.
Astros 3, Cardinals 0
No champagne for St. Louis! No champagne for you. At least for a day. With a chance to clinch the NL Central and officially punch the franchise's return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. While the Cardinals' magic number to clinch the Central dropped to one with Chicago's loss in Milwaukee, St. Louis couldn't clinch a postseason spot on the field because of an outstanding outing by Houston starter Bud Norris, who shut out the powerful heart of the Cardinals' order in six innings, before yielding to three straight one-inning shutdown relief performances. That overshadowed another strong outing by John Smoltz, who proved his playoff readiness with six innings of five hit ball, limiting Houston to two runs on five hits across six innings. And with Ryan Franklin on to give the Cards a shot at clinching before an off day, all that the reliever got was an inning of work and three more strikeouts.
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