The National League West continues to be the most intriguing race in MLB. The division has three teams separated by just one game. The San Diego Padres opened Saturday afternoon a ½ game back of the SF Giants. The Padres were in St. Louis, taking on the Cardinals. With the game tied at 4-4 in the top of the 9th inning, former Cardinal Ryan Ludwick hit a three-run homerun off Kyle McClellan and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs followed with a solo shot to give the Padres an 8-4 lead.
Padres closer Heath Bell pitched a perfect bottom of the 9th inning (he threw just eight pitches) for the Padres victory. The game marked the first time since April that Padres starting pitcher Chris Young pitched in the big leagues. Young returned from the DL to go four innings while allowing a run on three hits. With the win, the Padres moved into sole possession of first place in the NL West.
The Giants faced off against the Milwaukee Brewers. With the pitching matchup of Tim Lincecum versus Yovani Gallardo, it was expected to be a pitcher’s duel, and that it was. Lincecum allowed two runs on six hits through five innings for the Giants, but Gallardo was better. The Brewers ace allowed just one run on five hits through seven innings while striking out six. Brewers rookie catcher Jonathon Lucroy drove in both runs in the 4th inning. The Giants loss pushed them back into second place in the NL West, just a ½ game ahead of the surging Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies moved to just one game back of the NL West lead as they pummeled the LA Dodgers 12-2. Rockies rookie pitcher Jhoulys Chacin pitched eight shutout innings while allowing nine hits and no walks. Offensively for the Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki continues to be the story. Tulo went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. He contributed 2 two-run homeruns. He has 14 homeruns in his last 15 games which ties him for the modern-day record in a 15-game span. Tulo has 33 RBIs in September and is hitting .377 in his last 15games. Rockies veteran Melvin Mora went 4-for-5 with five RBIs (Mora hit a grand slam in the 8th inning).
The Philadelphia Phillies continue to stay hot and stay three games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. After Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick allowed a run in the 1st inning on a Danny Espinosa leadoff single and an RBI triple from Ian Desmond, the Phillies went to work against Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman. They scored two runs in the 2nd inning, capped by a Jayson Werth homerun, and another three runs in the 3rd inning, capped by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez homeruns.
That was all the scoring the Phillies would do, but it was more than enough for Kendrick and the bullpen. Kendrick allowed two runs in six innings of work, while relievers Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge pitched three shutout innings for the 5-2 win. Offensively for the Phillies, Wilson Valdez, who is filling in nicely for the injured Jimmy Rollins, collected three hits, as did Ibanez.
The Braves kept pace with the Phillies as they defeated the NY Mets 4-2 behind the pitching of ace Tim Hudson. Hudson allowed two runs (on solo homeruns) on six hits over seven innings while striking out seven. The 5-7 hitters for the Braves (Derek Lee, Nate McLouth, and Alex Gonzalez) combined to go 6-for-11 with four RBIs and three runs scored.