MLB standings 2013: Dodgers inch closer, Nats refuse to die

A hot Matt Kemp is a formidable addition to the Dodgers lineup - Norm Hall

The Dodgers halved their magic number for the National League West title on Tuesday, reducing it to two, while the Cardinals moved into sole possession of first place in the National League Central. Meanwhile, the Nationals continue to postpone the Braves celebration of the National League East pennant.

In the race for home field advantage, the Cardinals are one game ahead of the Dodgers for the second seed in the National League, but Los Angeles does hold the tiebreaker over St. Louis, having bested the Redbirds in four of the seven head-to-head meetings this season.

Here is a recap of Tuesday's relevant action.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3: Matt Kemp returned to the Dodgers starting lineup in the fifth spot of the batting order and kicked off a perfect four-for-four night by doubling home the first two runs of the game in the first inning, as Los Angeles bushwhacked the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The win reduced the Dodgers' magic number to clinch the NL West Division title to two, which means a win in either remaining game of the series in Phoenix would end the division race.

Nationals 6, Braves 5; Nationals 4, Braves 0: The hottest team in baseball is the Washington Nationals, and they continued to stave off elimination by sweeping a doubleheader in the nation's capital against the NL East leading Braves. It's quite likely too little too late as the Nats still trail the Braves by eight games with only 11 left to play, plus 4½ back in the race for the second wild card. The opener was a comeback win for Washington who trailed by two entering the bottom of ninth, but that inning featured the rare conflagration of a Craig Kimbrel blown save and a walkoff fielding error by sure-handed shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Cardinals 11, Rockies 4: St. Louis broke the tie atop the NL Central by trouncing the hapless Colorado Rockies in Coors Field. The Cards plated the first ten runs of the game and Matt Holliday enjoyed a perfect night with a homer, a double and two singles.

Padres 5, Pirates 2: Jedd Gyorko clubbed a three-run homer to open the scoring, and the Padres rode out four hitless innings from their bullpen to best the Bucs in Pittsburgh. The loss dropped the Pirates into second place in the NL Central.

Reds 10, Astros 0: Jay Bruce drove in the first run of the game with a single and later added a grand-slam home run as Cincinnati capped the Astros in Houston. With ten runs of support, starting pitcher Mike Leake cruised through eight innings of five-hit ball for the win.

Here is a look at relevant games scheduled for Wednesday (all times PT):

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