Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Nationals deny Braves NL East title

DOUBLE TROUBLE:Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to sweep a double-header, while the Rangers beat the Rays to pull even with them in the AL wild-card race


Tanner Roark of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP


Tanner Roark threw seven shutout innings as the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 4-0 to sweep a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, ensuring the Braves leave Washington without the NL East title.

Roark (7-0) allowed just two hits, struck out six and retired the final 13 batters he faced.

Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run, Ian Desmond an RBI double and Adam LaRoche an RBI single in the eighth inning. Steve Lomardozzi had a second-inning RBI single off Freddy Garcia (1-2).

Washington entered the nightcap, which followed the Nationals’ 6-5 win in the makeup of a series opener postponed by a shooting rampage a day earlier at the nearby Navy Yard, within 4.5 games of Cincinnati for the NL’s second wild-card berth. The Nationals, who have won 10 of 11, have 11 games remaining.

Craig Kimbrel had converted 37 consecutive save chances since early May, and Andrelton Simmons began the day with the second-best fielding percentage among National League shortstops. However, they conspired to blow a three-run lead in the ninth inning of the first game.

Kimbrel (3-3), who leads the major leagues with 47 saves, blew a save chance for just the fourth time this season.


In Denver, Colorado, Matt Holliday had four hits, including a two-run homer, to help St Louis take over sole possession of the NL Central lead.

The Cardinals entered the night tied with Pittsburgh, who lost 5-2 at home to San Diego. St Louis reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to five, with 11 games remaining.

Joe Kelly (9-4) allowed three hits over five sharp innings, before turning a 10-0 lead over to the bullpen.

Juan Nicasio (8-8) lasted just 2-2/3 innings and allowing eight runs, which tied a career high.

Holliday led an 18-hit night by the Cardinals, who had seven players with at least two hits. Holliday finished four-for-four with a walk, double and two-run homer against his former team. He drove in three runs and scored twice.

The Cardinals ran away with the game in the third, when they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times. Daniel Descalso had a two-run triple in the inning, while Holliday added a double and an RBI single.

Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer finished two-for-three with a walk and an RBI to raise his average to.331, which is tops in the NL.


In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jedd Gyorko blasted a three-run homer among his three hits for San Diego.

Ronny Cedeno added three hits for San Diego, who beat the Pirates for the second straight game and dropped Pittsburgh one game behind St Louis in the NL Central. The Cardinals beat the Rockies 11-4.

Luke Gregerson worked the ninth for his fourth save.

Eric Stults (9-13) allowed two runs over five innings to pick up his first win in more than two months. Stults struck out five and walked one.

Andrew McCutchen went two-for-three and Marlon Byrd drove in both of Pittsburgh’s runs.

Jeff Locke (10-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out five and walking three.


In Phoenix, Arizona, Juan Uribe and Adrian Gonzalez homered and Zack Greinke pitched six strong innings as Los Angeles inched closer to clinching the NL West title.

One day after coming off the disabled list, Matt Kemp went four-for-four with two doubles and three RBIs.

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