|Saturday's NL Capsules|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 29 September 2007 19:03|
Maine (15-10) finished with 14 strikeouts, the most by a Mets pitcher in eight years, and departed to a raucous ovation long after Florida catcher Miguel Olivo charged across the diamond and threw a punch at Jose Reyes in the fifth - setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
Once order was restored, the Mets stayed alive in the playoff race by snapping a five-game skid that cost them their NL East lead.
After blowing a seven-game cushion with 17 to play and falling a game behind Philadelphia, New York entered Saturday with a chance to suddenly be eliminated from postseason contention.
Lastings Milledge homered twice, Ramon Castro also connected and Luis Castillo had three key hits for the Mets, who had lost eight straight home games and 11 of 15 overall - putting them in danger of completing one of the most colossal collapses in baseball history.
Chris Seddon (0-2) recorded only five outs, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.
Nationals 4, Phillies 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Matt Chico pitched six solid innings Saturday and Washington got in Philadelphia's way, leaving the NL East all even with one game to go.
If Philadelphia and the Mets are still tied after Sunday, there will be a one-game playoff Monday at Citizens Bank Park to determine the East winner.
Both clubs would be eliminated from wild-card contention if San Diego wins its final game against Milwaukee.
Ryan Howard hit his 46th homer, but it wasn't enough.
Chico (7-9) departed after Aaron Rowand homered leading off the seventh to cut it to 4-1. Chico allowed one run and four hits.
Starter Adam Eaton (10-10) lasted just 2 1-3 innings, allowing one run, five hits and two walks in probably his last appearance of the season for the Phillies.
Brewers 4, Padres 3, 11 innings
MILWAUKEE (AP) - The San Diego Padres are still waiting to clinch a playoff spot - and they can blame a familiar name.
Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a tying, two-out triple off Trevor Hoffman in the ninth inning, and Vinny Rottino singled in Ryan Braun off Joe Thatcher (2-2) in the 11th for Milwaukee.
The Padres are assured of at least a tie for the NL wild-card spot, and they can wrap it up with a win Sunday.
The outcome did clear up one thing: The Padres' loss clinched the NL West for Arizona and gave the Diamondbacks home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.
Mitch Stetter (1-0) got the final out in the 11th and picked up his first major league win.
Rockies 11, Diamondbacks 1
DENVER (AP) - Troy Tulowitzki hit his first career grand slam and Colorado stayed in the hunt for a postseason spot.
Arizona wrapped up the NL West title before they even took the field, clinching the NL West when the Padres lost to the Brewers.
The Rockies still need help to earn their first playoff spot since 1995. They have to beat Arizona on Sunday and hope the Padres falter against the Brewers, and that just gets them a tiebreaker game.
Matt Holliday went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .340, which leads the NL. Holliday also increased his NL RBI lead to 135 with a two-run double in the first. It was his 50th double of the season.
Mark Redman (2-4) went five innings for Colorado, giving up seven hits and one unearned run. He's now 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in five appearances since being called up by the Rockies on Sept. 7 from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Edgar Gonzalez (8-4) lasted just three innings, surrendering five runs and six hits. He also walked a season-high four batters.
Cubs 4, Reds 0
CINCINNATI (AP) - Rich Hill allowed only one hit in six innings and Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno hit solo homers as the NL Central champions tuned up for the playoffs.
Hill (11-8) gave up Buck Coats' two-out double in the sixth - Cincinnati's only hit of the game - then left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. The left-hander had his way with a lineup that took a get-it-over-with approach.
The Reds lost for the 90th time even though top starter Aaron Harang (16-6) was facing a lineup missing most of its regulars. Cincinnati has dropped a season-high seven in a row.
Most of the 38,936 fans wore blue and rooted for the visiting team. Cubs signs filled every nook of the ballpark. A banner hanging from the upper deck boasted: ``Cubs NL Central Champ.'' The players got a prolonged standing ovation when they took the field for the first time.
Cardinals 7, Pirates 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Adam Wainwright recovered from a shaky start to pitch seven sharp innings and Rick Ankiel homered and had three RBIs as St. Louis won its fourth straight.
Wainright (14-12) only retired two batters while giving up four hits and three runs in the first inning, but then allowed only two baserunners the rest of the contest. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out four.
Ankiel, Albert Pujols and Gary Bennett each had three hits for the defending World Series champions.
Ronny Paulino reached base three times for Pittsburgh, which has lost three in a row and 12 of 14.
Tom Gorzelanny (14-10) allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out one to finish the year with a 3.88 ERA - the highest it has been all season.
Astros 3, Braves 2
HOUSTON (AP) - Craig Biggio caught the first two innings in the next-to-last game of his 20-year career and Houston beat Atlanta.
Biggio revisited his primary position from his first four seasons in the majors. He had not been behind the plate since switching to second base in 1992.
Brandon Backe (3-1), who missed most of the season after Tommy John surgery, made his fifth start of the year. He allowed a run and four hits in six innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.
Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save in 27 chances.
Jeff Bennett (2-1) made his second career start since coming up from Triple-A Richmond on Sept. 19. He also went six innings, giving up three runs.