Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to put the Atlanta Braves back in the playoffs with a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Freeman’s drive off Mike Dunn clinched at least a National League wild-card berth for the Braves, who squandered a big lead in the wild-card race with a huge collapse in September last year.
Longtime star Chipper Jones, who plans to retire at the end of the season, led off the ninth with a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch by Dunn (0-3) and scored when Freeman’s 22nd homer easily cleared the center-field wall.
Craig Kimbrel (3-1) worked a scoreless inning to help the Braves win their 22nd straight game started by Kris Medlen. The streak is the longest in the majors since the New York Yankees won 22 consecutive games started by Whitey Ford in 1950 and 1953.
REDS 4, BREWERS 2
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings as the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the National League’s top record by beating Milwaukee after learning they will be without their manager for the rest of the week.
The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month and they fell to 4.5 games behind St Louis for the final National League wild-card spot as the Cardinals later beat Houston 4-0.
Reds manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.
The Brewers could not do much against Cueto (19-9), who is rounding back into form as the playoffs approach.
Mike Fiers (9-9) gave up nine hits and four runs in 4-1/3 innings for Milwaukee.
DIAMONDBACKS 7, GIANTS 2
In San Francisco, Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer and a pair of sacrifice flies for a career-high five RBIs.
Goldschmidt on his own gave Josh Collmenter (5-3) plenty of support as Arizona won for the seventh time in their last nine games. The Diamondbacks are trying to keep their slim National League wild-card hopes alive.
Aaron Hill had three hits and scored three runs, while Arizona scored two of their runs on wild pitches on a cool night featuring swirling mist above the field in the early innings.
Tim Lincecum (10-15) had his start pushed back two games from Sunday after San Francisco clinched their second division crown in three years with a win against San Diego on Saturday night.
The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner lost for the first time in five starts since Aug. 26 in Atlanta, Georgia. He had won his previous two outings and three straight decisions.
PADRES 2, DODGERS 1
In San Diego, California, Josh Beckett lost for the third time in six starts with Los Angeles, whose playoff chances were dealt a blow.
With eight games to play, the Dodgers are tied with Milwaukee, 4.5 games behind St Louis for the National League’s second wild-card spot.
The Padres scratched out two runs against Beckett (1-3) and made two nice defensive plays. Left fielder Chris Denorfia threw out Shane Victorino at the plate in the second inning and third baseman Chase Headley made a heads-up play that helped erase Matt Kemp in the sixth, when the Dodgers failed to score after loading the bases with two outs.
Padres closer Huston Street got in and out of trouble in the ninth for his 23rd straight save.