A pivotal battle between two division rivals in the midst of a playoff race took 19 innings to complete as the Pirates beat the Cardinals by the score of 6-3. Pedro Alvarez gave Pittsburgh the lead in the top of 19th when he hit a solo shot against Barret Browning. The Pirates took the three-game series with the win and would be headed to the playoffs if the season ended today as the second Wild Card.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the National League…
- With the Braves set to play one more series against the Nationals after this week's showdown, Atlanta realizes the importance of making up ground in D.C. starting on Monday, writes Andrew Simon of MLB.com. The Braves have a comfortable hold on the top Wild Card spot but have played well enough to make a run at the division only to be matched win-for-win by Washington. "We have the opportunity to take advantage because it seems like every time we win, they win and they don't lose very often," said Freddie Freeman. "So this is our time to try to take control of things and get a little closer."
- Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson, a free agent after the season, would like to remain in D.C. on a deal longer than the one-year contract he signed in February, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "Anything more than one year," Jackson said. "It would be nice to settle down for more than one year, for sure. I would like to [stay]. I could see myself being a part of [the Nationals], but at the end of the day, it's up to ownership."
- The battle against performance-enhancing drugs remains an uphill struggle for Major League Baseball, opines Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal suggests Melky Cabrera's actions reflect a desperate person willing to resort to desperate actions as he may have viewed PEDs as the lone way to salvage his career. While there may be less users in baseball as compared to a decade ago, players are still abusing the system and reaping the benefits that Cabrera enjoyed for almost a full season, if not longer.