GIANTS 4, DODGERS 3
In Los Angeles, the Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention, their wild-card hopes dashed to Barry Zito and the Giants.
The defeat left the Dodgers two games behind St Louis with only one game left in the regular season. Los Angeles had won six in a row to stay in the race for the second NL wild-card spot, but Mark Ellis lined out to center field with a runner on second base to end it.
The defending World Series champion Cardinals are to open the playoffs tomorrow at Atlanta in a one-game matchup.
Mat Latos won his fourth straight decision to finish the regular season and Scott Rolen homered off Chris Carpenter, helping the Cincinnati Reds keep the St Louis Cardinals’ postseason plans on hold with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals’ magic number for clinching the second NL wild card remained at one with a game to go, and they were left in the uncomfortable position of watching the Dodgers on television and rooting for a loss for the second straight night.
Los Angeles, who began the day two games back with two remaining, played at home against the Giants later on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Carpenter (0-2) has a wealth of big-game experience and went 4-0 in the post-season last fall for the World Series champions, memorably outdueling Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NL division series.
NATIONALS 4, PHILLIES 2
In Washington, a smile crept across Adam LaRoche’s face while he rounded the bases on Tuesday night after hitting his career-high 33rd homer to become the third Nationals player with 100 RBIs in a season, another celebratory moment for NL East champions Washington during a victory over the Phillies.
When the Nationals Park gates opened, early-arriving fans in the crowd of 33,546 were treated to a video montage of alcohol-spraying and general mirth-making from a night earlier, when the home team clinched their first division title since moving from Montreal in 2005.
Even the guy playing the national anthem on his bat-violin on Tuesday wore a gray T-shirt marking the accomplishment.
PIRATES 5, BRAVES 1
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kevin Correia pitched effectively into the seventh inning and Garrett Jones homered as the Pirates won consecutive games for the first time in four weeks, beating the Braves.
The Pirates (79-82) tied for their most wins in a season since their North American major professional sports record streak of 20 losing seasons began in 1993. The 1999 Pirates went 79-83.
A day after being eliminated from the NL East division title race, the wild-card Braves rested several regulars and shuffled players in and out of the lineup throughout the game.
Atlanta are to host the NL wild-card game tomorrow.
In Tuesday’s other games, it was:
‧ Astros 3, Cubs 0
‧ Brewers 4, Padres 3
‧ Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3