WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals brought postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933, earning a playoff spot Thursday night with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Nats Clinch" flashed on the scoreboard as Washington ensured at least an NL wild-card spot behind Ross Detwiler's six strong innings and Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double.
A crowd of 30,359 stood and cheered in the ninth inning, then got even louder when Drew Storen struck out Hanley Ramirez to end it. Manager Davey Johnson saluted the fans as he left the field and the team wore caps acknowledging the playoff berth.
Washington's magic number to win the NL East was reduced to eight. The Nationals lead idle Atlanta by 51/2; games.
Washington was last in the postseason 79 years ago, when player-manager Joe Cronin and the Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games in the World Series.
The loss dropped the Dodgers three games behind St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot. Milwaukee moved ahead of Los Angeles with its win over Pittsburgh.
Giants 9, Rockies 2
At San Francisco, Pablo Sandoval homered from both sides of the plate and the NL West-leading Giants reduced their magic number to clinch the division to four.
Buster Posey also connected to back another strong start by Barry Zito (13-8) as San Francisco completed a four-game series sweep.
Zito won his fifth straight decision and has done everything he can to earn himself a spot in the postseason rotation after being left off all three rounds for the 2010 World Series champions.
The second-place Dodgers were set for a night game at Washington, trailing by 91/2; games. San Francisco (87-63) moved a season-best 24 games above .500.
Reds 5, Cubs 3
At Chicago, the Reds clinched a playoff spot, beating the Cubs while manager Dusty Baker remained in a hospital after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
Ace Johnny Cueto (18-9) and the NL Central leaders ensured themselves of at least a wild-card spot. Cincinnati cut its magic number to two for winning the division for the second time in three years.
The Reds said Baker would remain in a Chicago hospital for an additional day so doctors could monitor his progress. He is hoping to return to Cincinnati on Friday. Bench coach Chris Speier ran the team for a second straight game.
Phillies 16, Mets 1
At New York, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley sparked an eight-run first inning, Ryan Howard added a late grand slam and the Phillies routed the inept Mets before a few hundred fans at quiet Citi Field.
Cardinals 5, Astros 4
At St. Louis, pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran snapped a sixth-inning tie with a two-run double and Allen Craig hit a three-run homer, powering the Cardinals to a season sweep at home against the Astros.
The Cardinals were 6-0 at home against Houston, their first season series sweep in St. Louis since 1996.
Brewers 9, Pirates 7
At Pittsburgh, Rickie Weeks hit a tying two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Aramis Ramirez's single, helping surging Milwaukee rally for the victory.
The Brewers have won five straight, eight of nine and 15 of 19 to climb into the playoff race. They remained 21/2; games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card slot.
Milwaukee trailed 7-4 before it rallied for four runs in the eighth inning.
Padres 6, Diamondbacks 5
At Phoenix, Jesus Guzman homered to help San Diego get the victory.
Clayton Richard (14-12) allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings to raise his career record against Arizona to 6-0 — including three wins in three starts at Chase Field over the past 10 weeks.
Athletics 12, Tigers 4
At Detroit, Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Detroit Tigers.
Josh Donaldson hit a go-ahead single in a four-run sixth inning that made it 6-3, then had an RBI double to cap a six-run ninth that included Smith's three-run double.
Pat Neshek (2-1) retired the only batter he faced and got the win.
Rangers 3, Angels 1
At Anaheim, Calif., Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning, and the Rangers dealt yet another blow to Los Angeles' fading playoff hopes.
Yu Darvish (16-9) held the Angels to four hits and struck out nine in a scintillating eight-inning duel with Zack Greinke, who gave up five hits and struck out eight.
Royals 4, White Sox 3
At Kansas City, Mo., Alex Rios was thrown out at the plate, Alexei Ramirez was picked off third base and the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox again failed to come up with a clutch hit in a loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Ashland native Jeremy Guthrie started for the Royals but received a no decision after giving up three runs — one earned — in six innings.
Yankees 10, Blue Jays 7
At New York, streaking Ichiro Suzuki hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a seven-run fourth inning capped by Nick Swisher's grand slam, and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto to open a one-game AL East lead over idle Baltimore.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4
At St. Petersburg, Fla., B.J. Upton hit a game-ending, three-run homer off Vicente Padilla, capping Tampa Bay's six-run ninth inning and lifting the Rays over Boston.
Andrew Bailey (1-1) gave up four hits and a walk before Padilla came in to face Upton, who drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center for his 24th homer.
Indians 4, Twins 3
At Cleveland, Casey Kotchman hit an RBI single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning and the Cleveland Indians topped Minnesota.