1. Atlanta Braves (1st WC): Kris Medlen continued his impressive transformation from reliever into starter, backup catcher David Ross homered, and the Braves beat the Astros, 6-1. Medlen allowed just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings. Paul Janish drove in two, and Atlanta took two-of-three from the horrendous Astros. The Braves begin a three-game set against the Phillies tonight in Philadelphia.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates (2nd WC): A.J. Burnett was fantastic again, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen homered, and the Pirates defeated the division-rival Reds, 6-2. In his last four starts, Burnett hasn’t allowed more than two runs while pitching no less than 7 1/3 innings and winning all four games. The ex-Yankee castoff allowed two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out seven in 8 2/3 innings. Joel Hanrahan retired the lone batter he faced on three pitches to record his NL-leading 32nd save and clinch Burnett’s 14th win of the year. Starling Marte drove in two runs, and Pittsburgh managed to avoid a sweep. The Pirates start a four-game series against the Diamondbacks tonight at home.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (2.5 GB): Kyle Lohse continued his career year, Daniel Descalso provided three hits and an RBI, and the Cardinals beat the Brewers, 3-0. Lohse fired six shutout innings, allowing only four hits and three walks while striking out six. In his contract year, Lohse is now top-5 in the NL in wins above replacement for a pitcher, games started, innings pitched, ERA, win-loss %, and win probability added. Allen Craig and David Freese recorded the Cardinals’ other RBIs on a night that the Cards went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals start a four-game set at home against the Giants tonight after sweeping the Brewers out of St. Louis. The Cards have won five of six overall.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (3 GB): Joe Blanton was solid in his Dodgers debut and Hanley Ramirez hit a walk-off single en route to the Dodgers’ 7-6 victory over the Cubs. Blanton tossed six innings of two-run ball while striking out five. Relievers Brandon League, Randy Choate, and Kenley Jansen all gave up LA’s early lead before Ramirez took matters into his own hands in the bottom of the 9th. Luis Cruz and A.J. Ellis both drove in two for the Dodgers, who swept the Cubs and welcome the Rockies to Dodgers Stadium tonight for the first of a three-game series.