Saturday's National League Capsules
Sunday, September 23, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Madison Bumgarner pitched San Francisco to its second NL West title in three years and newcomer Marco Scutaro had three hits and three RBIs in the Giants' 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
The Giants captured their eighth divisional crown — wrapping it up once again with a victory over the Padres in front of their home fans, just as they did on the season's final day in 2010 on the way to an improbable World Series championship.
Brandon Belt homered leading off the eighth to give the sellout crowd of 42,418 one more thing to stand and cheer about in a season full of such moments.
The real party began after Sergio Romo retired Mark Kotsay on a fly ball to center to end it. Fireworks shot off behind the main center-field scoreboard as the players rushed to the mound and began bouncing up and down.
The Giants won their season-high sixth straight game and moved 26 games above .500 (89-63), the club's best record since finishing the 2003 season 39 games over. Bumgarner (16-10) struck out six in 5 2-3 innings.
Scutaro's two-run single in the fourth chased rookie Andrew Werner (2-2).
REDS 6, DODGERS 0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jay Bruce's 34th homer put the Reds ahead to stay, and they made good on their second chance to win the NL Central title without Dusty Baker.
The 63-year-old manager spent another day in a Chicago hospital getting treated for an irregular heartbeat. The Reds brought him his fifth division title as a manager, including two during the last three years with Cincinnati.
Bruce's leadoff homer in the ninth off Houston's Tim Byrdak clinched the title for Cincinnati in 2010. He led off the fourth with a homer off rookie Stephen Fife (0-2), and Cincinnati's main offseason acquisition made it stand up.
Mat Latos (13-4) allowed six hits in eight innings. Aroldis Chapman induced a clinching double play from Hanley Ramirez.
Cincinnati became the first team in the majors to clinch a division title this season, leaving it with one goal left. The Reds are vying with Washington for the NL's top seed in the playoffs, both with 92 wins that lead the majors.
BRAVES 8, PHILLIES 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer to back Mike Minor and the Braves roughed up Roy Halladay to move closer to clinching a postseason berth.
The win coupled with Milwaukee's 10-4 loss to Washington reduced Atlanta's magic number for securing a playoff spot to three. The Braves were up 8½ games through Sept. 5 last year, but went 9-18 down the stretch and were overtaken by St. Louis on the final day of the season.
The Phillies fell four games behind the Cardinals for the NL's second wild-card spot with only 10 games remaining. The five-time defending NL East champions had won four in a row and 12 of 15.
Ryan Howard became the second-fastest player to reach 300 homers, but Halladay (10-8) lasted just 1 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs and five hits.
Minor (10-10) gave up two runs and two hits in six innings to win his fourth straight decision.
CARDINALS 5, CUBS 4, 10 INNINGS
CHICAGO (AP) — Jon Jay's RBI double in the 10th inning lifted St. Louis to the victory, bolstering the Cardinals' bid for another playoff appearance.
Carlos Beltran hit a tying solo homer in the ninth for the Cardinals, who improved their lead for the second NL wild-card spot to 2½ games over Milwaukee.
The defending World Series champion Cardinals have 10 games left in the regular season. They bounced back from an agonizing 11-inning loss at Wrigley Field the previous day.
After Matt Carpenter and Brian Anderson drew two-out walks from Jaye Chapman (0-1), Jay doubled down the right-field line.
Mitchell Boggs (4-1) got the last out of the ninth. Jason Motte struck out the side in the 10th for his 39th save.
Beltran made it 4-all with his 30th homer, a one-out shot off Carlos Marmol that wrapped just inside the right-field foul pole.
NATIONALS 10, BREWERS 4
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gio Gonzalez became the majors' first 20-game winner in 2012, and the first pitcher for a Washington baseball team with 200 strikeouts since Walter Johnson in 1916, taking a shutout into the sixth inning to help the Nationals close in on their first NL East title.
Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond each hit a three-run homer off former Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez in the fourth inning, and Washington stopped Milwaukee's six-game winning streak. The Brewers now trail St. Louis by 2½ games for the second NL wild card.
Owners of baseball's best record, the Nationals already are assured of postseason play, and Gonzalez (20-8, 2.84 ERA) is a big reason.
Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (2-1) lasted only 2 2-3 innings, giving up three runs and five hits, along with four walks and a wild pitch.
DIAMONDBACKS 8, ROCKIES 7
DENVER (AP) — Aaron Hill tripled and drove in four runs for Arizona, and Jason Kubel had two hits and two RBIs.
Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Johnson also had two hits apiece for the Diamondbacks, who have won five of six. J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless ninth for his 31st save.
Wilin Rosario homered among his three hits and Jordan Pacheco also had three hits for the Rockies, who have lost eight straight.
Brad Bergesen (2-0) tossed two innings of one-hit ball to get the win. Carlos Torres (4-3) was charged with the loss.
ASTROS 4, PIRATES 1
HOUSTON (AP) — Jason Castro hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Astros handed the fading Pirates their fifth straight loss.
The Pirates fell 6½ games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card. Pittsburgh has lost 17 of 21 to drop to 74-77, moving closer to its 20th straight losing season.
Rookie Dallas Keuchel (3-7) pitched seven strong innings for the win. Wilton Lopez got three outs for his seventh save.
Castro hit his third home run of the season, connecting for a tiebreaking shot off Kevin Correia (11-10).
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the second inning for arguing a call at first base.
METS 4, MARLINS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — R.A. Dickey earned his 19th victory with a strong performance, Jason Bay and Scott Hairston homered and the Mets barely held on in the ninth inning for their second straight home win.
Just hours after the Mets snapped a nine-game losing streak at Citi Field on Friday and scored more than three runs in their home ballpark for the first time since Aug. 12, New York broke out the bats again in front of a crowd of 30,332.
The Marlins rallied in the ninth, capped by John Buck's three-run homer off Jon Rauch. The home run was confirmed after the second video replay of the game when umpires ruled the shot struck the left-field foul pole.
Dickey (19-6) was charged with two runs and six hits in eight-plus innings. Rauch got his fourth save.
Mark Buehrle (13-13) gave up four runs and five hits in six innings.