The Full Count: Padres come up big


1. (Re)taking the Lead: The Padres’ tie with the Phillies atop the wild card standings didn’t last very long. As the Phillies lost to the Braves, San Diego beat San Francisco 6-4 with a huge rally in the ninth. Brian Giles hit a game-winning three run homer to cap off a four-run ninth. The 86-71 Padres are theoretically in the division race too, at two games back, but it is the wild card that gives them a better shot at making the playoffs. They will play their last division game of the year Wednesday at San Francisco before heading off to Milwaukee for their last series.

2. The New Contenders: The Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies are two late-season additions to the wild card race. They are the two hottest teams in the majors, and both won on Tuesday as well. The Rockies have won nine in a row, while the Braves have won eight of their last nine games, including a key 10-6 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday. The win, powered by Mark Teixeira and Chipper Jones homers, put the Braves at three games back in the wild card. The Rockies are even closer, at just one game back of the Padres. They beat Los Angeles, who is officially out of the race, by a score of 9-7. Troy Tulowitzki hit his 23rd homer of the year and Todd Helton added three hits for Colorado. The Rockies, who have scored the fifth-most runs in the majors, will play the Dodgers once more and then face the Diamondbacks for a season-ending three game set.

3. Power Play: The Brewers are edging closer to the playoffs, just two games back of the Cubs after a 9-1 win over St. Louis. They wouldn’t even be near contention without the contributions of MVP candidate Prince Fielder, who added two homers to his league-leading total. Fielder now has 50 home runs, the youngest player ever to reach that mark. Additionally, he and his father Cecil are the only father-son tandem in big league history to each have 50-home run seasons. Prince is having a truly unbelievable season for a second-year player, almost matching what Ryan Howard did last year. He has almost doubled his rookie homerun total (28) while also improving every other category known to man. He isn’t the leading MVP candidate, but he will pick up plenty of votes, especially because he reached the big 5-0.

Player of the Day: Victor Martinez, Indians: 2-4, HR (25), 3 RBIs in a 4-3 win over Seattle. Why isn’t Martinez one of the MVP candidates? He has been by far the Indians’ best hitter this season, with a .301 average and 110 RBIs, both leading the team.

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