The NL East race, which hasn't been much fo a question all year, is getting out of hand. The Braves increased their lead to eight games over the Phillies and nine games over the Nationals. Philadelphia has lost four straight, while Washington has dropped six in a row. BP's playoff odds have the Braves with a 94.5% chance to win the division. The last major chance for either team to gain ground on Atlanta will be this weekend, when the Braves host the Cardinals while the Nationals welcome the Mets to DC and the Phillies travel to Detroit. If the Braves win the series against St Louis, that'll probably do it.
PIC OF THE DAY
Ichiro Suzuki, mountain climber. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Night: Royals 4, Orioles 3. Baltimore extended their lead to 3-1 in the eighth after Adam Jones brought a run in on a fielder's choice groundout. In the bottom of the inning, Wei-Yin Chen gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer to tie the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Alcides Escobar doubled off of the wall/Nate McLouth's glove, scoring David Lough and handing Baltimore another gut punch loss.
Pitching Lines of the Night: In Pittsburgh's 4-2 win in Washington, Stephen Strasburg allowed one run on two hits in eight innings, striking out 12 without a walk. But that one run was the difference, thanks to Francisco Liriano and his two hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Jered Weaver allowed two hits in eight shutout innings as the Angels topped the Twins 1-0, with Weaver striking out nine hitters and walking just one. Scott Kazmir dominated the Mariners in Cleveland's 10-1 win, giving up one unearned run on one hit in eight innings, walking a pair and punching out seven. David Price dominated the Red Sox in Tampa Bay's 5-1 win, allowing one run on five hits in a complete game, striking out four without a walk. Finally, Matt Garza's Rangers debut was a smash hit, as he allowed just an unearned run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings, notching five punchouts without a walk in Texas' 3-1 win over the Yankees.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Nate Schierholtz led the Cubs to a 7-6, 12 inning win in Arizona, going 3/6 with a double, a homer, and five RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera played well for the Tribe in their win in Seattle, going 2/4 with four runs, three RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. In the win, Michael Bourn went 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a walk, and a homer. Eric Hosmer went 2/4 with two homers and three RBI in the Royals comeback win over the Orioles. Yasiel Puig helped the Dodgers to an 8-3, ten inning win over the Blue Jays, going 3/5 with two runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer, while Andre Ethier went 4/6 with a run, two RBI, and two doubles.
Other Games: The A's rallied late to beat the Astros 4-3. The Braves smashed the Mets 8-2, but lost Tim Hudson. The Padres beat the Brewers 3-1. The Cardinals beat up the Phillies 11-3. The Rockies edged the Marlins 2-1. The Reds beat the Giants 8-3 thanks to the arm or bat of Mike Leake. The Tigers beat the White Sox 6-2.
Today's Games: Alex Wood and Zack Wheeler will duel in Flushing. AJ Burnett takes on Gio Gonzalez in DC. Hiroki Kuroda and Derek Holland battle in Texas. Justin Verlander takes on Jake Peavy (IN WHAT COULD BE HIS FINAL WHITE SOX START!) in Chicago. Yovani Gallardo (IN WHAT COULD BE HIS FINAL BREWERS START!) and the Brewers host the Padres. Erik Bedard (IN WHAT COULD BE HIS FINAL RANGERS START!) and the Astros travel north of the border to take on Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays. John Lackey and the Red Sox host the Rays. Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies take on Lance Lynn and the Cardinals. Miguel Gonzalez starts for the Orioles in Kansas City. CJ Wilson and the Angels travel up the coast to take on Dan Straily and the A's. Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners host the Twins. Mat Latos and Zack Greinke battle in Los Angeles.
National TV: Yankees-Rangers (2 PM, MLB Network), Tigers-White Sox (2 PM, MLB Network), Rays-Red Sox (7 PM, MLB Network), Phillies-Cardinals (7 PM, MLB Network).
MLB.tv Free Game: Pirates-Nationals (12:30 PM)
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Hiroki Kuroda vs Derek Holland (Yankees vs Rangers, 2 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.