Jayson Werth wound up with a two-out, two-run double when Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez lost a ball in the sun to spark a six-run fourth inning on Monday, and Washington beat Milwaukee 12-2 to cut their magic number to five for winning the NL East.
Jordan Zimmermann (12-8) allowed one run and four hits in 6-2/3 innings, while delivering two hits and driving in a run as a batter. Ryan Zimmerman produced three hits and four RBIs for the Nationals, who improved to a major league-best 93-60 and increased their division lead over Atlanta to five games with nine to play.
Marco Estrada (4-7) lasted only four innings for the Brewers, who dropped 3.5 games behind St Louis for the second NL wild card. He allowed seven runs — six earned — and eight hits.
METS 6, PIRATES 2
In New York, Ike Davis connected twice and reached a career-high 30 homers, Jenrry Mejia pitched five effective innings for his first major league win and New York won their fourth straight.
Davis had a career-best five RBIs and Mejia (1-1) allowed four singles and two walks. The right-hander struck out four and only his last out was made by an outfielder.
The Pirates lost for the 31st time in 43 games since improving to a season-high 16 games above .500 (63-47) on Aug. 8. They fell 7.5 games back in the wild-card race with several teams ahead of them and must win six of their last nine to avoid a 20th consecutive losing season.
Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen went one-for-three with a triple to keep his batting average at .336 — behind only Melky Cabrera, who is at .346 but has removed himself from consideration for the title.
Davis’ homer to left-center off Kyle McPherson (0-2) in the fourth came after David Wright walked. Davis hit a three-run shot off Jeff Karstens in the fifth to make it 6-0, a batter after Wright had an RBI single.
CARDINALS 6, ASTROS 1
In Houston, Texas, Lance Lynn pitched seven innings to earn his 17th win, rookie Pete Kozma hit a two-run homer and the St Louis Cardinals strengthened their grip on a playoff spot.
Yadier Molina added a solo shot as the Cardinals moved 3.5 games in front of Milwaukee and Los Angeles for the second NL wild card.
Lynn (17-7) struck out nine and yielded one run on five hits. The right-hander is 4-0 with a sparkling 0.89 ERA in his last four outings, including a relief appearance against Milwaukee on Sept. 9.
Kozma extended St Louis’ lead to 3-0 with his second major league homer in the second, a day after hitting his first one. Molina hit his 21st homer of the season to make it 4-1 in the fourth.
Houston starter Fernando Abad (0-6) pitched 1-2/3 innings before leaving with a strained right oblique. He walked one and allowed a run. He was replaced by Fernando Rodriguez, who was charged with three runs and seven hits in a career-long 4-1/3 innings.
ROCKIES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 2
In Denver, Colorado, Tyler Chatwood pitched effectively into the sixth inning and Andrew Brown homered for Colorado.
Jason Kubel homered for the Diamondbacks, who have slim hopes of a late-season playoff push. Arizona fell 5.5 games behind St Louis with nine remaining in the race for the second NL wild card.
Tyler Colvin and Charlie Blackmon had two hits each for Colorado. Rafael Betancourt worked the ninth for his 30th save.
For one night, at least, the Rockies (59-94) avoided tying the franchise record for losses in a season with a solid performance from Chatwood. Colorado’s pitchers had allowed 33 runs on 48 hits through the first three games of this series before holding the Diamondbacks to five hits on Monday.