The Wrap: NL
NL Quote of the Night:
"Something kind of weird about me is that, ever since high school, I keep a mental tally in my head of how many I have every single game. I knew how many I had and what was going on, but I wasn't aware of any record."
-- Florida starter Ricky Nolasco, on his near-record setting 17 strike out performance against the Braves on Wednesday.
Nationals 7, Mets 4
For one night, the Nats had all the important things go their way. They got great pitching from starter John Lannan, who allowed just four hits in seven innings pitched. They got another bomb of a homer from Gold Glove hopeful Ryan Zimmerman, his 33rd of the season. They even had another sterling 2/3 of an inning of relief from lefty specialist Ron Villone, who remarkably may be making a case to earn a spot on the 2010 Nats. All of that still would have been good for a loss, if not for rookie outfielder Justin Maxwell, whose two-out, bottom of the ninth grand slam capped a furious, five-run final frame for the Nats at Nationals Park, good for what Chico aptly described as a "delirious" walk-off victory in the team's home finale.
Phillies 10, Astros 3
If the Phillies had been a touch more patient, they could have clinched the NL East without any work of their own. Instead, they decided to get the job done themselves, using a combination of Pedro Martinez (4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) and Kyle Kendrick (3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) to back their resurgent hitting at Citizen's Bank Park for an easy win over the Astros, despite a pair of homers from young Houston catcher J.R. Towles. Next up for Philly? The Dodgers or Cardinals, after a string of games that they'll only pretend to really focus on.
Marlins 5, Braves 4
Florida may not be headed to the postseason, but in two days they virtually assured that Atlanta won't be headed there, either. With starter Ricky Nolasco firing on all cylinders and striking out Braves at a record pace -- he finished with 16 strike outs and nine straight, one short of the major league record -- the Marlins jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Making Nolasco's strikeout mark all the more impressive is that he racked them up in 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs in the seventh and then giving way to Florida's bullpen in the eighth. The loss all but eliminated the Braves from any playoff shot, with Atlanta falling four games behind Colorado -- which beat the Brewers 10-6 later in the evening -- with just four games to play.
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