Braves 5, Cubs 4
CHICAGO -- That major league rookie record barely registered in Craig Kimbrel's mind. All he cared about were those final three outs.
Kimbrel tied the rookie mark with his 40th save, Jason Heyward hit his first career grand slam, and the Atlanta Braves hung on to win their sixth straight, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Tuesday night.
"I'll look back on it at the end of the year," Kimbrel said. "Right now, I'm just worried about helping us win and helping us get to the playoffs."
Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 40th save in 45 opportunities, tying a mark set by Texas' Neftali Feliz last season. He ran his scoreless streak to 31 2-3 innings as Atlanta won for the eighth time in nine games, and that's what mattered to him.
"It's pretty awesome," Kimbrel said. "When you're winning games, it's fun."
Sometimes, it's tense, too. This one certainly was, right to the end.
Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the ninth for the Cubs, giving him a career-high five hits while extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He advanced to second when Heyward bobbled the ball in right, but a pinch-hitting Tyler Colvin struck out to end the game.
"I feel pretty good," said Ramirez, who is 27 for 48 during this streak. "The last guy, he's got good stuff. I saw the ball well off him."
Kimbrel certainly is doing his part as the Braves try to secure a playoff spot. Manager Fredi Gonzalez used words like "unbelievable" to describe him and pointed out that he's becoming a more complete pitcher, mixing in breaking balls to go with the fastball and staying cool in tight situations.
Chipper Jones had three hits for Atlanta. So did Heyward, none bigger than his shot in the fourth. He connected after Alex Gonzalez drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk off Casey Coleman (2-6), making it 5-0, but Mike Minor (4-2) nearly gave it all away in the fifth.
Alfonso Soriano led off a four-run rally with his 21st homer.
Ramirez drove a two-run double with two outs and came around when Gonzalez bounced the throw to first after fielding Jeff Baker's grounder to short, making it 5-4. Carlos Pena hit an inning-ending fly ball to the wall in center, barely preserving the lead.
Things got really tense in the seventh when the Cubs loaded the bases, but Chicago came away empty-handed. Arodys Vizcaino came in and retired Marlon Byrd on an inning-ending grounder to second on the first pitch.
Diamondbacks 2, Nationals 0
Sean Burroughs hit a two-run home run and Ian Kennedy pitched seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win that ended a six-game losing streak.
The Diamondbacks' team bus arrived at Nationals Park 45 minutes late after being stuck in heavy traffic caused by the afternoon's East Coast earthquake. The bus, which arrived at 5:15 p.m., was set to be later than usual even before the disruption, as Gibson had decided not to have Arizona take batting practice.
"We have a 4:15 bus again tomorrow, no BP, and I'm going to try and call another earthquake," Gibson said after the game. "If the earthquake doesn't show up, we'll do the rest the same."
Kennedy (16-4) allowed six hits, struck out eight, and had a single and a double at the plate. It was Kennedy's eighth win in his last nine starts.
"It's been kind of crazy," Kennedy said. "It felt like high school all over again. You show up late, start getting ready an hour before the game."
Although the Nationals had few real scoring chances, they did put the leadoff runner on base five times against Kennedy.
"I wasn't making it easy on myself," he said.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (8-11) held the Diamondbacks scoreless on three hits through six innings, but gave up two runs, two hits and a walk in the seventh.
After getting a groundout by Lyle Overbay to lead off the inning, Zimmermann gave up a walk to Chris Young before Burroughs' homer to right field. The home run was Burrough's first since April 30, 2005.
"Was basically looking dead red fastball, get out in front," Burroughs said. "I wasn't trying to hit a home run. I obviously never do."
After Burrough's homer, Kennedy doubled to end Zimmermann's day.
"Definitely frustrating," Zimmermann said. "It's happened a couple of times this year where it's just one pitch at the end of the game. It's a home run or a double or something and they get a couple of runs."
Reds 8, Marlins 6
MIAMI -- There's no place like home. Reds manager Dusty Baker is a firm believer in that.
Making his first start at first base for Cincinnait this season, Yonder Alonso took full advantage of the opportunity to play in front of more than 200 friends and family members Tuesday night. It was his first trip as a big leaguer back to his hometown, where he also played college ball at the University of Miami.
Alonso homered and drove in four runs, including a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning that sent the Reds to an 8-6 victory over the fading Florida Marlins.
"That's why he was out there," Baker said. "I told him he was going to play in front of his family. Usually guys play well in front of their families."
Alonso hit a solo homer, his second, in the second inning and had an RBI single in the third. He finished with three hits.
"It's funny because I went to dinner with my parents (Monday) and my mom told me that, 'I have a feeling that you're going to have such a good game' and she's right about a lot of things," Alonso said. "She doesn't say that too often so when she does say it I guess she blessed me."
Dave Sappelt tied the game at 6 with a two-run double and the Reds scored four times in the ninth off closer Leo Nunez (1-4), who blew his sixth save in 39 chances. They were the first career RBIs for Sappelt, who had three hits.
"When they're beating me with breaking balls, now you're in a titanic struggle. But since they were just beating me with fastballs it was just one of them things where I'd eventually come out of it," Sappelt said.
Jay Bruce hit his 27th home run for the Reds.
Emilio Bonifacio homered and drove in three for the Marlins, who have lost six in a row. They are 2-16 in their last 18 games.
"We had a meeting (before the game) and the guys played extremely well," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "I thought they were alive, there was some energy on the bench, guys were really pulling to pull this off. It looked like we had it, and then it went away."
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