Braves close in on NL wild-card berth


AP

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves boosted their National League wild-card hopes with a 3-2 win over Florida Marlins on Tuesday. Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Atlanta improved its wild card chances. The Braves’ win, coupled with San Diego’s loss, gave Atlanta a 1-1/2 game lead in the wild-card race. Trailing 1-0, the Braves rallied for three runs in the seventh off Anibal Sanchez (12-12). Brooks Conrad knocked in the first run with a triple. Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead. Atlanta reliever Craig Kimbrel (4-0) got the win with a hitless seventh, and Billy Wagner earned his 36th save with a scoreless ninth.

Reds 3, Astros 2 In Cincinnati, the hosts clinched the NL Central title, earning a first trip to the playoffs in 15 years, with a win over Houston. Jay Bruce hit a game-ending line-drive homer off Tim Byrdak (2-2) with the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth, sparking fireworks overhead. Cincinnati has won with its last at-bat 22 times this season. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (2-2) pitched a perfect ninth. Dusty Baker joined Bill McKechnie as the only managers to lead three different NL teams to the playoffs. Baker has made it with San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs. Cincinnati finished fourth last season, its second under Baker, but the franchise thought it had the makings of something and kept the roster intact. The Reds have struggled against other top teams. They have gone 58-28 against losing teams, only 30-41 against those with .500 or better records. Nationals 2, Phillies 1 In Washington, Adam Dunn led off the bottom of the ninth with his 38th homer of the season, to give Washington victory over Philadelphia. Dunn’s homer off Jose Contreras (6-4) did little to dampen enthusiasm among a Philadelphia team preparing for the playoffs. Nationals closer Drew Storen (4-4) earned the win by pitching the ninth. Dodgers 9, Rockies 7 In Denver, Los Angeles eliminated Colorado from the playoff race. The Rockies’ loss, combined with Atlanta’s win over Florida and San Francisco’s defeat of Arizona, ended Colorado’s chances of getting the wild card.