Sunday’s National League Capsules
Monday, September 26, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rafael Furcal hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Sunday to pull within one game of Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.
St. Louis trailed the Braves by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 26, but the Cardinals have won 15 of their last 20.
The Cardinals close with a three-game series at Houston, which has the worst record in the major leagues, while Atlanta hosts Philadelphia, which has the best mark.
Trailing 2-1, St. Louis tied the score in the seventh on Yadier Molina’s career-best 14th homer. The following inning, Furcal homered off Randy Wells (7-6).
Octavio Dotel (5-3) retired two batters in the eighth, and Jason Motte pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 13 chances.
Making what might have been his final home appearance for the Cardinals, Albert Pujols went 0 for 4 — ending his streak of reaching base in 40 successive games. The three-time NL MVP, who is eligible for free agency after the season, received a 45-second standing ovation during his first at-bat. He stepped out of the batter’s box and tipped his helmet.
Nationals 3, Braves 0
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top four hitters in Atlanta’s lineup, including Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla, went a combined 0 for 16 with five strikeouts in a loss to Washington.
The Braves have dropped 10 of their past 15 games.
Wilson Ramos homered off Atlanta starter Mike Minor (5-3) in the fourth, and Michael Morse hit the 29th of his breakout season — a two-run shot — off reliever Cristhian Martinez in the seventh.
Ross Detwiler (4-5) went six innings for Washington before a crowd of 37,638 in the final game of 2011 at Nationals Park. He allowed four hits while striking out four.
Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth and Drew Storen got three outs for his 42nd save in 47 chances. The last 15 Braves batters made outs, including seven strikeouts.
With nothing more at stake than a third-place finish, the Nationals have played well down the stretch, winning 12 of 15 games. That includes taking two of three from the struggling Braves.
Phillies 9, Mets 4
NEW YORK (AP) — Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence and the fully loaded Philadelphia Phillies snapped their eight-game losing streak, looking playoff-ready in every way by routing New York.
Playing their regular lineup for the first time since clinching the NL East, the Phillies posted their major league-leading 99th victory. Pence homered during a three-run first inning, each starter had a hit by the third and Carlos Ruiz’s single made it 9-0 in the fourth.
That was plenty for Halladay (19-6). He tuned up for his expected start in Game 1 of the NL playoffs Saturday by throwing six scoreless innings of four-hit ball. Last year’s unanimous Cy Young Award winner finished this regular season with career bests in ERA (2.35) and strikeouts (220).
Mike Pelfrey (7-13) was gone after three innings, leaving him with one win in his last 12 starts of the season.
With their 83rd loss, the Mets matched last year’s total.
Brewers 9, Marlins 5
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ryan Braun homered and raised his NL-best batting average to .333, lifting Milwaukee over Florida for its team-record 55th victory at home.
Every position player had a hit for the NL Central champions before the first out of the third as the Brewers swept the season series from the Marlins (7-0) for the first time since 1998.
Braun finished 2 for 3 before leaving after the fifth and leads Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (.331) for the batting title.
The Brewers have won seven of nine and own a one-game lead over NL West champion Arizona for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Milwaukee is a major league-best 55-23 at Miller Park, topping the 1978 club’s 54-27 mark at County Stadium.
Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with a homer against winner Chris Narveson (11-8).
Florida starter Ricky Nolasco (10-12) allowed seven runs — six earned — and nine hits in two-plus innings.
Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2
PHOENIX (AP) — Miguel Montero hit a two-run double to support Josh Collmenter’s seven strong innings and Arizona beat San Francisco for a three-game sweep.
Aaron Hill and Colin Cowgill also had run-scoring hits for the Diamondbacks, who have won six of seven.
Collmenter (10-10) allowed five hits and two runs for his second win against the Giants this season. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 45th save.
Justin Upton was hit on the front of the helmet by a pitch from Giants ace Tim Lincecum (13-14) in the first. He initially remained in the game and scored Arizona’s second run, but left after the inning for precautionary reasons. Neurological tests on Upton were negative and he is day to day.
Carlos Beltran and Andres Torres homered in the sixth for the Giants, who have lost four straight.
Dodgers 6, Padres 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw earned his 21st win, taking a two-hitter into the eighth inning to make his final case for the NL Cy Young Award as Los Angeles defeated San Diego.
Kershaw (21-5) tied Arizona’s Ian Kennedy for the NL lead in wins and increased his league-leading strikeout total to 248 in his final start of the season. His NL-best ERA rose slightly to 2.28 as he extended his career-high winning streak to eight games.
Teammate Matt Kemp’s pursuit of the NL Triple Crown had a major setback as he fell nine points behind in the batting race. Kemp, who started the day six points back, went 1 for 5 as his average fell to .324.
Kemp is tied with Albert Pujols of St. Louis in home runs (37) and leads the league with 120 RBIs. He has three games left in Arizona starting on Monday.
Kemp is trying to become the first player to win the Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. St. Louis’ Ducky Medwick (1937) was the last NL player to do it.
Rod Barajas hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Cory Luebke (6-10) allowed four runs — three earned — in six innings.
Rockies 19, Astros 3
HOUSTON (AP) — Colorado set a team record with 25 hits, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chris Iannetta each drove in five runs and the Rockies routed Houston.
Jordan Pacheco, Ty Wigginton and Tommy Field had four hits each for the Rockies, who broke the previous team mark of 24, accomplished most recently in a 16-4 win at Pittsburgh on Aug. 2, 2003.
Kouzmanoff hit a pair of two-run homers. Colorado pitcher Kevin Millwood (4-3) also had a two-run shot, his second homer of the season and fourth of his big league career.
The 16-run margin of defeat tied the Houston record and the 19 runs allowed matched the second-most in franchise history, trailing only a 22-7 loss at the Chicago Cubs on June 3, 1987.
Millwood didn’t allow a hit after the third inning. He gave up an unearned run and three hits in seven innings.
Lucas Harrell (0-2), starting for the Astros because Bud Norris has biceps tendinitis, allowed five runs — three earned — in three innings.
Reds 5, Pirates 4
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Dontrelle Willis allowed three hits in six innings and had a two-run double to pick up his first win of the season as Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh.
Willis (1-6) gave up three runs and struck out six to finally break through in his 13th and final start of the season. Francisco Cordero worked an eventful ninth for his 35th save.
Chase d’Arnaud hit a two-run triple but Pittsburgh couldn’t complete a three-game sweep in its home finale at PNC Park.
Daniel Moskos (1-1) allowed three consecutive hits in the sixth, the last one a double to right by Willis.