*Philadelphia chased Washington's Jason Marquis with six runs in the first inning. The Phils maintain a comfortable three-game lead in the NL East and after an up-and-down season and rolling to the top seed in the playoffs. Their 9-1 win wasted a 4-for-4 night for Washington's Ryan Zimmerman.
**Atlanta waited a little longer before popping the top, but they poured down six runs of their own against Jonathan Niese and the Mets. A fourth-inning outburst gave them their runs for the night in a 6-4 win. The Braves continue to hold the lead in the wild-card push.
**St. Louis didn't have a six-pack, but they spread their joy out over two innings and jumped on San Diego's Mat Latos for eight runs right out of the gate and rolled home 14-4. The Cardinal quartet of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina combined for 12 hits and 10 RBIs. Latos effectively kissed any Cy Young hopes goodbye.
*The Padres didn't lose any ground on San Francisco, who fell 3-0 in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun delivered three hits and scored twice for the Brewers and helped set up a good night for Colorado. The Rockies gained ground on both rivals with a 7-5 win over Los Angeles, highlighted by four hits from Todd Helton.
*In the American League, New York nudged back ahead of Tampa Bay. A-Rod's game-winning three-run shot with two outs in the ninth in Baltimore was the highlight of a two-homer night, which keyed a six-hit outburst from him, Robinson Cano and Lance Berkman in the middle of the lineup. Tampa Bay fell on a ninth-inning home run against the Angels.
Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary on baseball and game analysis in college football and the NFL.