Saturday, September 29, 2012
ST. LOUIS -- Michael Morse circled the bases for a grand slam after taking an imaginary swing, and the Washington Nationals cut their magic number for winning the NL East to one Saturday night, beating St. Louis 6-4 on Kurt Suzuki's two-run double in the 10th inning.
The Nationals were forced to wait at least another day when second-place Atlanta won.
St. Louis' magic number for clinching the second NL wild-card spot remained at three.
The Nationals opened the game with a blast, and a bit of comedy.
Morse's drive with the bases loaded cleared the wall but caromed back onto the field, sending runners and fielders scurrying. The umpires reviewed the ball on replay and confirmed it was indeed a grand slam.
The umps ordered all runners to retrace their steps and Morse back to the plate. He mimicked his swing minus a bat, then made his trip around the bases.
BREWERS 9, ASTROS 5
MILWAUKEE -- Marco Estrada struck out 11 in eight shutout innings, Corey Hart homered twice and the Brewers beat the Astros.
The Brewers began the day barely in the playoff race, a year after they reached the NL championship series. Any Milwaukee loss or St. Louis win would mean elimination.
Hart drove in four runs to back Estrada (5-7), who won for the third time in four starts. The right-hander allowed only four singles and a walk after giving up six earned runs in just four innings against Washington in his last outing.
Houston hit three home runs in the ninth to score five times off reliever Livan Hernandez. Fernando Martinez and Brian Bogusevic hit two-run homers and Tyler Greene added a solo shot.
BRAVES 2, METS 0
ATLANTA -- Mike Minor pitched 6 1-3 sharp innings to win his fifth straight decision, Martin Prado and Jason Heyward each had an RBI and the Braves beat the Mets.
Chipper Jones, who played his next-to-last regular-season game at Turner Field, was hitless in four at-bats.
Craig Kimbrel earned his 41st save of in 44 chances with a scoreless but shaky ninth.
The Braves began the night four games behind Washington in the National League East. If they don't win the division, the Braves will host a wild-card playoff game next Friday.
PIRATES 2, REDS 1
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off Jonathan Broxton with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Pirates over the Reds.
A day after getting no-hit by Cincinnati's Homer Bailey, the Pirates won with eight hits.
McCutchen's 31st homer helped Pittsburgh keep a record 20th consecutive losing season at bay for at least a day. The All-Star hit a 2-2 fastball from Broxton (4-4) a couple rows deep in right-center before getting mobbed at home plate by his teammates.
Joel Hanrahan (5-1) worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the ninth, setting the stage for McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez had two hits for the Pirates, who won for just the seventh time this month.
PHILLIES 9, MARLINS 5
MIAMI -- Roy Halladay survived a shaky opening inning, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and scored three times, and the Phillies beat the Marlins.
Chase Utley drove in three runs and Carlos Ruiz added a two-run double for the Phillies, who evened their record at 79-79 with four games left.
Halladay (11-8) allowed six hits and four runs, striking out seven and walking three in five innings.
Giancarlo Stanton had three hits, including his 36th homer, and drove in three runs for Miami. The Marlins led 3-0 after an inning but lost for the 91st time -- matching the most by the franchise in any season since 1999.
Ricky Nolasco (12-13) allowed nine hits and five runs in five innings for Miami, which got a three-hit night from Donovan Solano.
DIAMODNBACKS 8, CUBS 2
PHOENIX -- Trevor Cahill threw a four-hitter in his third career complete game, Justin Upton drove in three runs and the Diamondbacks added to Chicago's futility in the NL West with a victory over the Cubs.
Cahill (13-12), 4-1 in his final five starts of the season, struck out a season-high nine and walked three. He was two outs shy of his third career shutout when Alfonso Soriano hit his 32nd home run of the season in the ninth.
Upton hit a booming two-run homer onto the second deck in left field in the fifth and had an RBI single Arizona's three-run first. Aaron Hill went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. He doubled in a run in the first and singled in one in the second off Justin Germano (2-10), loser of eight straight starts.
PADRES 7, GIANTS 3
SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley hit his 30th home run and had three RBIs to tie Ryan Braun for the NL lead with 112 and the Padres beat Buster Posey and the NL West champion Giants.
Posey, who started at catcher a night after being hit in the throat with a wild pitch, went 2 for 2 with a to raise his average to .337 and increase his lead in the NL batting race over Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen. McCutcheon went 1 for 5 to drop to .329. Suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera of the Giants has a .346 mark but won't qualify for the batting crown at his own request after a positive drug test.
Headley hit a two-run homer off Madison Bumgarner in the third to give the Padres a 4-3 lead. It's San Diego's first 30-homer season since Adrian Gonzalez had 31 in 2010, and the 17th time it's been done in team history. Headley also had an RBI grounder in the first and scored three runs.
The Padres scored as many runs Saturday night as they did in being outscored 19-7 during a three-game losing streak. Chris Denorfia had three hits and scored twice.
DODGERS 3, ROCKIES 0
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp homered twice, Joe Blanton pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and the Dodgers climbed within two games of the second NL wild-card spot with a victory over the Rockies.
The Dodgers' fourth straight victory, coupled with St. Louis' 10-inning loss to Washington, kept the Dodgers clinging to their postseason hopes with four games left.
After this weekend, Los Angeles finishes up with a three-game series against NL West champion San Francisco. The defending World Series champion Cardinals close out the regular season with a three-game set at home against Central champion Cincinnati.