Chris Johnson in top form as Atlanta take down Chicago
APCHICAGO--Chris Johnson went 3 for 4 with a home run as Atlanta beat Chicago 9-5 on Friday to reduce its magic number to clinch the NL East division to one.
September 22, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The Braves broke open a tie game in the top of the ninth with four runs — all with two outs. Brian McCann and Johnson had RBI singles, and Andrelton Simmons followed with a two-run double.
Freddie Freeman earlier hit a three-run homer for Atlanta.
David Carpenter (4-1) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win. Kevin Gregg (2-5) took the loss for the Cubs, who wasted three home runs.
Atlanta starter Paul Maholm, twice staked to a four-run lead, allowed eight hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings. Chicago's Scott Baker allowed five runs and four hits in four innings.
Reds 6, Pirates 5, 10 Innings Joey Votto homered off Kyle Farnsworth in the 10th inning for Cincinnati, which got three unearned runs in the ninth to tie the game and pulled even with Pittsburgh for the top wild-card playoff spot in the National League.
Cincinnati pushed across the three runs off closer Mark Melancon to tie it and Votto won it an inning later with his 24th homer.
JJ Hoover (5-5) earned the win for the Reds, who have won four straight. Aroldis Chapman worked the 10th for his 38th save.
Farnsworth (1-1) retired Brandon Phillips to start the 10th but left fielder Starling Marte couldn't quite grab Votto's shot down the line.
Francisco Liriano overwhelmed the Reds, allowing two runs and three hits, walking three and striking out seven.
The left-hander needed only 94 pitches to record 24 outs, but was pulled in the ninth for Melancon, who was coming off a blown save in a 3-2 loss to San Diego on Wednesday.
Nationals 8, Marlins 0 Jordan Zimmermann pitched a two-hitter and picked up his NL-leading 19th win for Washington.
Zimmermann (19-8) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, struck out nine and faced only three batters above the minimum. He passed the 200-inning mark for the season and lowered his ERA to 3.18 for the Nationals, who have essentially hit must-win mode in their late push for the playoffs.
The Nationals trail Cincinnati and Pittsburgh by five games with nine to play for the NL's second wild card berth. After hovering near .500 for most of the season, the defending NL East division champs have won 12 of 14 and 29 of 40.
Zimmermann had a one-hitter this season, on April 26 in a 1-0 win over the Reds.
The Nationals sent 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run sixth against Marlins starter Jacob Turner (3-8) and reliever Chris Hatcher.
Other games on Friday:
Mets 6, Phillies 4
Cardinals 7, Brewers 6, 10 Innings
Rockies 9, Diamondbacks 4
Padres 2, Dodgers 0
Chris Johnson #23, of the Atlanta Braves, hits a run-scoring single in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 20.