N.L. Playoffs Chase: Sunday-Morning Update

Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals players mob pinch hitter Corey Brown after he hit a walk-off single against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

The National League races got tighter after Saturday's action, some of which was rain-delayed.

N.L. East W L
Nationals 86 53 -
Braves 80 60

Both of the N.L. East contenders won Saturday, so 6½ games still separate them. Here's a summary of Saturday's action:

Nationals 7, Marlins 6, 10 innings: The Nats trailed 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth; a two-run rally made it 6-5. The teams played the top of the ninth and then a severe thunderstorm delayed things for more than two hours. When play resumed, Jayson Werth homered off Marlins closer Heath Bell to tie the game, Bell's seventh blown save of the year. The Nats won it in the bottom of the 10th on a single by Corey Brown, who was playing in just his 15th major-league game.

Braves 11, Mets 3: The rain that delayed the game in Washington also affected this contest in New York; it was interrupted for an hour and 15 minutes in the sixth inning with the Braves already leading 8-2. Atlanta continued the scoring barrage; both Brian McCann and Eric Hinske homered for the winners. Kris Medlen continued the outstanding run he's been on since he was inserted into the Atlanta rotation; in eight starts covering 55⅔ innings, he's allowed just five earned runs for a 0.81 ERA.

N.L. Central W L
Reds 84 56 -
Cardinals 74 65

Reds 5, Astros 1: Cincinnati got seven strong innings from Bronson Arroyo and homers by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce and defeated the woeful Astros; they lowered their magic number to clinch the NL Central to 14.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 3: Milwaukee crept to within one game of .500 with this victory in St. Louis. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez homered for the Brew Crew; they've been kind of an afterthought in the playoff discussion up to now, but this win, their 15th in their last 19 games, puts them five games out of a wild-card spot.

N.L. West W L
Giants 78 61 -
Dodgers 74 66

Dodgers 3, Giants 2: The Dodgers got key contributions from mid-season acquisitions Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez Saturday; Gonzalez led off the ninth inning with a triple and Ramirez doubled him home with the winning run off Jeremy Affeldt. The win cut the Giants' lead in the NL West to 4½ games, and also moved Los Angeles to within one-half game of St. Louis in the wild-card race.

N.L. Wild Card W L
Braves
80 60
Cardinals 74 65 -
Dodgers 74 66 ½
Pirates 72 66

Cubs 4, Pirates 3: Jeff Samardzija, like Stephen Strasburg scheduled to be shut down for the season, threw a complete-game victory over the Pirates, the first of his career and the Cubs' first CG of 2012. David DeJesus drove in the tie-breaking run for the Cubs in the eighth inning and the slumping Pirates are now 5-12 since August 19.

The series above all conclude Sunday; the Giants/Dodgers matchup will be the featured Sunday night game, to be televised on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, with Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw facing San Francisco's Barry Zito.

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