N.L. playoff races: Thursday-morning update

Joe Robbins - Getty Images

Aided by the Astros blanking the Cardinals, the Dodgers and Brewers inched up the wild-card standings.

NL East W L
Nationals 94 61 -
Braves 90 65 4

Two of the three National League divisions have been clinched; we continue to list them here for reference, and teams trailing in those races remain in wild-card contention.

Nationals 8, Phillies 4: Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick allowed home runs to Bryce Harper, Kurt Suzuki, and Ian Desmond before manager Charlie Manuel lifted him after just two-plus innings. Philadelphia did attempt to make it a close contest by scoring four unanswered runs, but Washington put the game out of reach in the ninth inning by scoring three runs, two off the bat of Jayson Werth. The loss put the Phillies 5½ games out of the second wild card. In other words, their season is over.

Braves 3, Marlins 0: The Braves clinched a playoff spot yesterday on Freddie Freeman's walk-off home run, and they showed no signs of a hangover by blanking the Marlins. Paul Maholm fired 6⅔ innings, retiring 13 of his final 14 batters and compiling six strikeouts on the night. Marlins starter Josh Johnson struggled through his six innings, allowing a first-inning homer to Martin Prado and issuing five walks during his start. However, he did whiff seven batters. Speaking of whiffs, Craig Kimbrel slammed the door for his 40th save of the season by striking out four batters in the ninth inning.

NL Central W L
Reds 93 62 -
Cardinals 84 72

Astros 2, Cardinals 0: The Astros closed out their final home game as a National League club in style, bidding adieu to longtime broadcaster Milo Hamilton and fulfilling their role as spoiler for the Cardinals' playoff aspirations. Bud Norris was nearly unhittable through 7⅓ innings, and he registered seven strikeouts while issuing no walks. Chris Carpenter, making his second start of the season for the Redbirds, allowed two runs on four hits in six innings, but his offense was unable to overcome a Jose Altuve home run and RBI single by Brett Wallace.

N.L. West W L
Giants 90 65 -
Dodgers 80 75 10

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 0: With the NL West already wrapped up, Giants starter Matt Cain continued his phenomenal season by going seven innings and giving up just four hits to the Snakes, extending his streak of giving up two runs or less to four games. Marco Scutaro continues to be a spark plug for San Francisco's offense; he went 2-for-4 in the contest with a double and RBI, while Brandon Belt went 3-for-4 with a triple. For MVP voters with an eye on counting stats, Buster Posey reached the 100-RBI plateau while going 1-for-5. Arizona's starter, Wade Miley, tossed four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits.

NL Wild Card W L
Braves
90 65
Cardinals 84 72 -
Brewers 80 75
Dodgers 80 75
D'backs 78 77
Phillies 78 77

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: The Dodgers pummeled Clayton Richard for 10 hits and six runs (four earned) in 3⅔ innings. Matt Kemp had a huge day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, and four RBI, while Nick Punto added a 3-for-5 effort and scored four runs. Yasmani Grandal went 2-for-4 and picked up an RBI for the home team.

Brewers 8, Reds 1: The Reds have already won the division, but the Brewers are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Ryan Braun smacked his 41st home run of the year, and Norichika Aoki and Jonathan Lucroy each added a dinger in support of Shaun Marcum's six-inning, one-run effort. Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was tagged for four runs on eight hits in six innings, but Joey Votto's RBI double was the only offense Cincinnati could muster. The victory pulled Milwaukee into a tie with the Dodgers for second place in the chase for the second wild card.

Up Next: The Dodgers will finish off their series with the Padres tomorrow, sending Chris Capuano to the mound to battle Casey Kelly as they attempt to climb back in the wild-card race. Meanwhile, the Brewers will try to keep pace with the Dodgers as they complete their series with the Reds. The Diamondbacks are nearly out of the race, but they're set to tango with the Giants, while the all-but-finished Phillies will battle the Nationals.

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