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Today In The NL Wildcard: 8.1.12

T1. Pittsburgh Pirates (1st WC): A.J. Burnett pitched a one-hit complete game shutout and the Pirates beat the Cubs 5-0 last night. NL MVP frontrunner Andrew McCutchen collected three hits, raising his average to .371 and his OBP to .428. Neil Walker drove in five, including a grand slam in the first inning. Recently-acquired Travis Snider started in rightfield and went 1-for-4 with two runs and a walk.

T1. Atlanta Braves (2nd WC): Kris Medlen’s first start of the season was a gem, as the Atlanta reliever allowed only one run on four hits and a walk over five innings while striking out three en route to a 7-1 Braves win. Medlen was moved into the starting rotation to replace the ineffective Jair Jurrgens. Brian McCann hit his 18th bomb of the season, continuing his recent power surge — the Braves catcher has hit nine homers since July 5th, which is tied for the most in baseball over that span.

T3. Los Angeles Dodgers (4 GB): Chris Capuano allowed five runs, Arizona’s Wade Miley dominated the Dodgers lineup, and Los Angeles dropped out of a tie for the NL West lead with a 8-2 loss. In Capuano’s last two starts (both losses), he has allowed a combined 11 runs on 17 hits in just 10 1/3 innings. The Diamondbacks have outscored LA 15-4 in the first two games of this series. Shane Victorino did not arrive in time to make his Dodgers debut last night.

T3. St. Louis Cardinals (4 GB): The Cardinals relied on their bats in their 11-6 victory over the Rockies in hitter-friendly Coors Field. Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and David Freese all homered, while Allen Craig went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs, and two walks. Freese finished his scorching July with a .458 average, the highest average for a Cardinal in a single month since 1924. Skip Schumaker and Yadier Molina contributed multi-hit games, and the Cards pounded out 15 hits on the night. Kyle Lohse improved to 11-2 despite allowing five runs in his six innings of work.