N.L. Playoffs Chase: Saturday-Morning Update

San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Marco Scutaro and teammates celebrate after the win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2. Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Playoff standings, particularly for the wild card, remained tight after Friday's action as many contenders went down to defeat.

N.L. East W L
Nationals 85 53 -
Braves 79 60

The Braves crept to within one game of the Nationals, but still trail by 6½ after Friday night's action:

Marlins 9, Nationals 7, 10 innings: Stephen Strasburg, about to be shut down for the season, lasted just three innings in Washington's defeat. The Marlins blew a 6-2 lead and Michael Morse tied the game with a home run in the eighth, but Nats relievers couldn't get the job done, giving up three runs in the 10th, highlighted by Jose Reyes' second triple of the game.

Braves 3, Mets 0: As Chipper Jones begins his farewell to New York, the Braves posted their third consecutive shutout. Paul Maholm pitched into the sixth inning and five Atlanta relievers completed the blanking. Craig Kimbrel posted his 35th save and Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla homered for the Braves.

N.L. Central W L
Reds 83 56 -
Cardinals 74 64

Astros 5, Reds 3: Houston won for just the 15th time in 70 road games; Matt Dominguez hit a three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman, who blew his first save since June 24. The Reds had their magic number to clinch the NL Central reduced to 16 because...

Brewers 5, Cardinals 4, 13 innings: In a game delayed two hours, 20 minutes by rain and then extended well into the wee hours by extra innings, Milwaukee defeated St. Louis on a Ryan Braun home run in the top of the 13th. The game ended at 2:05 a.m. St. Louis time.

N.L. West W L
Giants 78 60 -
Dodgers 73 66

Giants 5, Dodgers 2: Tim Lincecum survived into the seventh inning despite issuing seven walks; he gave up just two runs and the Giants bullpen shut the Dodgers down. Marco Scutaro's two-run single in the bottom of the seventh broke a 2-2 tie. Scutaro has turned out to be one of the best deadline-deal acquisitions; since he became a Giant he's hitting .331 in 39 games, with 26 RBI.

N.L. Wild Card W L
Braves
78 60 4
Cardinals 74 64 -
Pirates 72 65
Dodgers 73 66

Cubs 12, Pirates 2: In a complete reversal of form, it was the Cubs playing like the playoff contender Friday night and the Pirates looking like the team heading toward 100 losses. Pittsburgh made seven errors, their most in 27 years and just one short of a 73-year-old franchise record, and Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano drove in three runs, giving him 91 for the season. Despite the crushing loss, Pittsburgh remained just 1½ games behind St. Louis for the second wild-card spot due to the Cardinals' defeat.

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