Kirk Rueter pitched seven strong innings and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Dodgers, 4-2, in Los Angeles last night, preventing the Dodgers from clinching their first West title since 1995.
The Giants remained tied with the Astros in the wild-card race.
J.T. Snow homered and former Dodger Marquis Grissom doubled home two runs for the Giants, who need a sweep of the three-game series to either force a one-game playoff or win the division based on a 10-9 season record against the Dodgers if Houston loses at least one of two.
Grissom doubled to the right-field wall with two outs in the second off Jeff Weaver (13-13), giving the Giants a 2-0 lead.
Astros 4, Rockies 2 -- Jeff Bagwell hit a two-run homer and host Houston beat Colorado to stay atop the wild-card standings. Mike Gallo (2-0) earned the win by getting the last out of the third inning, and Brad Lidge got three outs for his 28th save. They were two of seven pitchers to hold off the Rockies for Houston's seventh win in eight games.
Joe Kennedy (9-7) was denied a chance at a career high-tying fourth straight victory, allowing four runs on eight hits in eight innings.
Braves 5, Cubs 4 -- Pitcher Mike Hampton homered off Kerry Wood and Atlanta sent the collapsing Cubs to the verge of wild-card elimination in Chicago.
The Cubs scored three times in the ninth inning, but their rally fell short and they lost for the sixth time in seven games. Chicago began the day one game behind San Francisco and Houston for the fourth playoff spot.
Elsewhere -- The San Diego Padres found out between the second and third innings that they were eliminated from wild-card contention, then rallied for a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix . . . Barry Larkin homered in his final at-bat -- perhaps one of his last in a Cincinnati uniform -- capping a 5-1 victory over the Pirates at Pittsburgh . . . Rick Ankiel won his first game in 3 1/2 years with a four-inning relief stint, leading the host St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-1 . . . Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco homered as the Philadelphia Phillies secured second place in the East with a 6-2 win over the visiting Florida Marlins . . . Terrmel Sledge hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth as the Expos opened the team's final series before moving to Washington with a 4-2 victory over the Mets at Shea Stadium.