Friday's National League Capsules
Saturday, September 24, 2011
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun hit a three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers won their first division title since 1982, beating the Florida Marlins 4-1 Friday night.
Prince Fielder also homered for Milwaukee, which clinched the NL Central and reached the postseason at the earliest date in team history after waiting for 20 minutes the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-1.
Braun homered off Clay Hensley (6-7) to end a 1-for-16 skid and then pointed his bat in the air toward owner Mark Attanasio and the fans before rounding the bases.
It was reminiscent of his 2008 homer on the last day of the season that lifted Milwaukee to its first postseason appearance since winning the AL East in 1982.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo pitched into the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez (6-2) got two outs and John Axford pitched a perfect ninth for his 44th save.
Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks completed an improbable run to their first NL West crown in four years when rookie Paul Goldschmidt lined a two-run triple in the eighth inning to beat San Francisco.
The Diamondbacks completed their worst-to-first turnaround in Kirk Gibson's first full season as its manager.
The loss dropped the defending World Series champion Giants five games behind Atlanta for the NL wild-card spot with five games left.
Ryan Roberts got the go-ahead burst started with a double off Matt Cain (12-11) before Goldschmidt got his first career triple off Sergio Romo.
David Hernandez (5-3) struck out two after allowing a one-out single in the eighth and J.J. Putz finished for his 44th save.
Braves 7, Nationals 4
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dan Uggla and the Braves knocked around Stephen Strasburg a bit in a three-run first inning, and Atlanta helped its bid for a playoff berth by beating the Washington Nationals.
Tim Hudson (16-10) pitched into the sixth for the Braves, who had lost eight of their previous 12 games. Entering Friday, their once-hefty lead in the NL wild-card standings had dwindled to a two-game edge over St. Louis.
Uggla finished with three hits and two RBIs, including a run-scoring single while Strasburg (0-1) labored at the outset of the game, which began 14 minutes late because of rain. The right-hander, coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery, allowed four hits in an inning for the first time in the majors, according to STATS LLC.
Dodgers 2, Padres 0
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Matt Kemp moved a step closer to the NL Triple Crown with a solo homer and Ted Lilly combined with three relievers on a four-hitter, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Diego Padres.
Kemp went hitless in his first two at-bats before he homered leading off the seventh inning to tie St. Louis' Albert Pujols for the NL lead with 37. Kemp, who leads the league with 119 RBIs, went 1 for 4 to keep his average at .326. He picked up a point on Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, whose average dropped one point to .329 and into a tie with New York's Jose Reyes.
Kemp, one of the leading MVP candidates, is attempting to be the major leagues' first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Pirates 4, Reds 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ryan Ludwick's single in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run and Pittsburgh came back from a blown save in the top of the inning.
Ludwick's fly ball to deep center field off Nick Masset fell for a single and scored pinch-runner Chase d'Arnaud from second after pinch-hitter Jason Jaramillo had doubled off Bill Bray (5-3) to left with one out.
Garrett Jones homered for the first time in more than a month for Pittsburgh (70-87), which reached 70 wins for the first time since 2004.
The Pirates had been a strike away from that elusive 70th victory, but closer Joel Hanrahan (1-4) hit Todd Frazier in the hand with a 98 mph fastball, the eighth pitch of a dramatic at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth.
Astros 11, Rockies 2
HOUSTON (AP) — Carlos Lee drove in four runs for the second straight game and Brett Myers won his fourth consecutive decision for Houston.
Lee's big night started with a two-run double that was part of a franchise-record six consecutive hits to start the first inning. The Astros took a 5-1 lead off rookie Drew Pomeranz (1-1), who was making his third major league start.
Lee became the first Astros player to have consecutive four-RBI games since Lance Berkman on May 30-31, 2000, against Colorado.
Myers (7-13) struck out six, walked one and retired the last 11 batters he faced. Before starting his winning streak, Myers had lost seven straight decisions. He is 8-1 lifetime against Colorado.
Cubs 5, Cardinals 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Alfonso Soriano dealt the St. Louis' wild-card hopes another serious blow with his first home run of the month, a tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth inning to lead the Cubs.
The loss dropped the Cardinals three games behind Atlanta, which beat Washington 7-4, for the wild card. The defeat also clinched the NL Central for Milwaukee.Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh after throwing 93 pitches. The St. Louis bullpen got punished for the second straight game when Soriano hit his 24th homer, connecting off Kyle McClellan (12-7). Starlin Castro added an RBI single off Mitchell Boggs in the ninth.
St. Louis grounded into three double plays, the last in the eighth after getting two hits off Jeff Samardzija (8-4), and lead the major leagues with 165. They're one shy of their own NL record set in 1958.