wrigley scoreboard featureThe Cubs lost a tough one last night, which is going to make all the scoreboard watching a little less fun …

In contrast to the Cubs, the Pirates played a long one – 15 innings, not because of rain – and managed to escape with a 9-8 win over the Diamondbacks despite blowing an 8-3 lead in the late innings. The win, coupled with the Cubs loss gives them a 3.0 lead for the top Wild Card spot.

It also pulled them to within 5.0 games of the NL Central lead, because the Cardinals lost 2-0 to the Giants. The Cubs remain 8.0 games behind those Cardinals.

The Giants’ win brings them to within just 3.0 games of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot. Next week’s series in San Francisco is already looming so very large. Also: imagine if the Cubs hadn’t swept the Giants in four at Wrigley. Imagine if they’d merely split – the Cubs would be a gameĀ behind the Giants.

The Nationals finally won a game, but they’re 8.5 back of the Cubs, so I won’t be tracking them here unless they get a little closer.

As was always the case: it’s good to know how other teams are doing, but the Cubs need keep winning, and the rest will take care of itself.

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