Washington Play a game, try to win, then go watch TV and root, root, root.
That's what the Philadelphia Phillies are going through in the season's final weekend. They held on to beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, Friday night behind Ryan Howard's 21st homer and Cory Lidle's solid start, then settled in to see the end of Houston's loss, which allowed Philadelphia to close within one game in the NL wild-card standings.
"Things are getting a little bit tighter," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have two games left to play and, yeah, there is some pressure there, but we can handle it."
Closer Billy Wagner gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth before stranding the potential tying run on third for his 37th save, and the Phillies hurried off to the visiting clubhouse at RFK Stadium to see what was happening in Houston.
Between bites of food, they saw the Astros waste a ninth-inning lead and fall, 4-3, to the Chicago Cubs.
Yells of "Yeah!" came from Philadelphia players with each negative development for Houston. Shouts of "Come on!" followed good things for the Astros. And a collective whoop greeted the final out.
If the Phillies (86-74) and Astros (87-73) finish the regular season in a tie, they would meet in a one-game playoff Monday at Philadelphia.
Cubs 4, Astros 3
Houston - Brad Lidge couldn't hold onto the lead for Houston. After Lance Berkman hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth, Lidge blew his first save in more than three months, allowing two runs and four hits in a loss to Chicago.
Diamondbacks 7, Giants 3
San Francisco - Alex Cintron hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth and added a three-run double in the ninth.
Brewers 6, Pirates 5
Pittsburgh - Damian Miller and Geoff Jenkins hit two-run homers in the seventh, and the Brewers, down by five runs while being held hitless for five innings by Oliver Perez, assured themselves of at least a .500 season.
Padres 3, Dodgers 1
San Diego - The Padres guaranteed themselves at least a .500 record by beating the Los Angeles behind seven strong innings from Woody Williams.
Mets 3, Rockies 2
New York - New York guaranteed a winning season in Willie Randolph's first year as manager, beating Colorado behind Kris Benson's first victory in six weeks.
Marlins 5, Braves 2
Miami - Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris had a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lead Florida.
Cardinals 12, Reds 6
St. Louis - Albert Pujols hit a grand slam in the seventh inning for his 200th career home run.