PHILADELPHIA — Darin Ruf homered for his first major league hit, Carlos Ruiz and Domonic Brown also went deep and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the playoff-bound Washington Nationals 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Cole Hamels (16-6) overcame five shaky innings to set a career high in wins and help the five-time defending NL East champion Phillies keep their faint postseason hopes alive. Hamels allowed three runs and seven hits, tying his shortest outing of the year.
Philadelphia entered 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot. Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Dodgers also are ahead of the Phillies in the standings with eight games remaining.
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to put the Atlanta Braves back in the playoffs with a victory over the Miami Marlins.
Freeman's drive off Mike Dunn clinched at least an NL wild-card berth for the Braves, who squandered a big lead in the wild-card race with a huge collapse last September.
Longtime star Chipper Jones, who plans to retire at the end of the season, led off the ninth with a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch by Dunn (0-3) and scored when Freeman's 22nd homer easily cleared the center-field wall.
CINCINNATI — Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating Milwaukee after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.
The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month.
NEW YORK — Pedro Alvarez hit his 30th homer and drove in four runs as Pittsburgh ended the Mets' four-game winning streak.
Pittsburgh avoided elimination in the playoff race, remaining mathematically in contention for the second NL wild-card spot. The Pirates posted their 76th victory, the team's most since 1999, when they won 78.
HOUSTON — Jaime Garcia pitched seven sharp innings and Jon Jay drove in two runs to help St. Louis improve its playoff chances.
The Cardinals won their fourth straight and extended their winning streak over the last-place Astros to a franchise-best 10 games.