N.L. Playoffs Chase: Tuesday-Morning Update

Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on his home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Phillies and Pirates moved up a bit in the wild-card race, while the Braves padded their lead.

N.L. East W L
Nationals 89 57 -
Braves 85 63 5

There weren't many games on Monday's slate, but the chase for the Wild Card heated up as the Phillies once again evened their season record against the Mets and the Pirates won a game they needed to win. The Dodgers, Brewers, and Cardinals -- all of them fighting for the second wild card -- were idle.

Braves 7, Marlins 5: The Braves jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Wade LeBlanc and the Marlins. Martin Prado smacked an RBI single in the first, but the big blow in the frame was Dan Uggla's three-run homer, his 19th of the season. Prado recorded four hits -- all of them singles -- and a pair of RBI. Rob Brantly and Gorkys Hernandez both collected three hits for the Marlins. LeBlanc was tagged for six runs on seven hits in four innings. Tim Hudson didn't pitch particularly well for Atlanta, going five innings and allowing four runs on 10 hits. However, the Braves' bullpen locked down the victory as Craig Kimbrel notched his 37th save. Kimbrel has yet to give up more than one hit in a game this season.

N.L. Central W L
Reds 88 59 -
Cardinals 77 70 11

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: In a game that didn't start until 10:42 p.m. and didn't end until nearly 1:30 in the morning, the Pirates picked up a much-needed win in the finale of their four-game series in rain-soaked Chicago. All the scoring came in the top of the third, when Starling Marte's triple plated two runs and Jose Tabata's double scored Marte. Otherwise, Cubs starter Travis Wood pitched well, setting a career high with nine strikeouts; overall, Cubs pitchers registered 15 strikeouts, a season high. But Chicago's hitters just couldn't do anything at all, first against Kevin Correia, who pitched seven two-hit innings, before handing off duties to a pair of Pirates relievers.

N.L. West W L
Giants 84 63 -
Dodgers 76 71 8

Giants 2, Rockies 1: It wasn't particularly pretty for Madison Bumgarner, who walked a season-high five batters, but his six innings of one-run ball was enough to keep the Giants ahead of the cellar-dwelling Rockies. Jhoulys Chacin had a decent outing for Colorado, going five innings and allowing just one run on five hits, but the Rockies couldn't muster any offense beyond Josh Rutledge's RBI triple. Brandon Crawford showed off some power by picking up a double and triple for the Giants. Buster Posey and Marco Scutaro added two hits apiece to San Francisco's tally.

N.L. Wild Card W L
Braves
85 63 7
Cardinals 77 70 -
Dodgers 76 71 1
Brewers 74 72
Pirates 74 72
Phillies 74 74

Phillies 3, Mets 1: Cliff Lee turned in a masterful eight-inning, one-run outing and recorded 10 strikeouts for the Phillies, bringing Philadelphia back to .500 and within 3½ games of a Wild-Card berth. Jimmy Rollins hit what was believed to be a triple in the fifth inning, but the umpires conferred and it was a home run, Rollins' 21st of the season, that gave Philly a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish against Mets starter R.A. Dickey. Dickey earned a tough-luck loss, hurling seven innings and racking up eight strikeouts. He was felled by two homers; the second a jack by Domonic Brown in the seventh inning. Lee is now one win from evening his season record, which currently stands at 6-7.

Up Next: A host of games with playoff implications are set: At 7:05 p.m. ET, the Dodgers will take on the Nationals and the Brewers will kick off a visit the Pirates. The Braves continue their series with the Marlins, and the Phillies square off again with the Mets. The Reds can lower their magic number by beating up on the Cubs, while the Cardinals can pad their lead for the second wild card as they play the Astros. In the late-night game, the Giants will look to distance themselves from the Dodgers as they tango with the Rockies.

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