Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez had consecutive RBI hits in the ninth inning off Nationals closer Tyler Clippard and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday.
The victory combined with a St. Louis loss moved the Brewers within 11/2 games of the Cardinals for the final wild-card berth in the National League.
"We have to win games. We're not in a position where we can rely on other people to lose," said Braun, who finished with three hits including two doubles.
Cardinals-Cubs: Darwin Barney connected for a tying two-run homer off Fernando Salas with two out in the ninth inning and David DeJesus hit a game-ending single in the 11th to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory at Wrigley Field, spoiling the 2012 debut of St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter.
"We got to a two-run lead with two strikes in the ninth, but wouldn't finish it off," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Carpenter threw five effective innings and was in line for the win until Barney drove a 1-2 pitch from Salas into the left-field bleachers. The Cardinals' regular closer, Jason Motte, was unavailable after pitching three days in a row and four out of the last five.
Carpenter threw 77 pitches, with a light rain falling throughout. The 37-year-old allowed two runs and five hits.
"My stuff wasn't as sharp as I'd like
Reds: Manager Dusty Baker missed a third straight game because of problems caused by an irregular heartbeat. Doctors in Chicago advised him to spend one more night in a hospital there before traveling to Cincinnati for a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Reds weren't sure when Baker, 63, would be allowed to rejoin the team. "He's fine," said bench coach Chris Speier, who took over Baker's duties. "They want to make sure before they put him on a plane -- he has some fluids (built up) -- make sure that's all taken care of. But yeah, you worry about him."
Rays: Tampa Bay's pitching staff broke the A.L. single-season record for strikeouts when James Shields fanned Toronto's J.P. Arencibia leading off the second inning. Rays pitchers began the night with 1,264 strikeouts, two shy of the 2001 Yankees. The M.L. record is 1,404, set by the Cubs in 2003. The Rays have 1,275 with 11 games left.
Rangers: Josh Hamilton underwent further tests in Dallas to determine the extent of his sinus condition that has blurred his vision. Hamilton did not play in the Rangers' last two games and will miss the three-game weekend series with Seattle.