The National League Central controls three of the league's five postseason spots, but the real intrigue comes at the top of the division. After an easy win over San Diego on Thursday, the Pirates are within a game of first-place St. Louis as the stretch run hits high gear.
The Pirates got a 12-strikeout performance from Gerrit Cole and probably didn't need it with the big bats powering a 10-1 win over the Padres to avoid the sweep. Meanwhile, the Cardinals fell to the Rockies in a 15-inning affair, losing a heart breaker on a walk-off triple from Corey Dickerson.
With the Pirates winning and the Cardinals losing, the only competitive division in the game remains as close as possible. St. Louis holds onto its lead by a game and the Pirates remain one game ahead of the Reds in the Wild Card. Cincinnati was not active on Thursday and remains in control of the second NL Wild Card spot by five games over the Nationals.