The acquistion of Joe Randa from K.C. wasn’t enough to prevent the Pirates from being the NL’s 2nd worst club, but Randa’s pinch-hit, 2-run HR in the top of the 9th meant the Bucs avoided being no-hit by San Diego’s Chris Young.

Young (8.2 IP, 3 walks, 6 K’s) was two outs away from the no-no before walking Jose Bautista, then allowing the HR to Randa. Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Walker each homered in San Diego’s 6-2 victory. And something nearly history did occur ; Mike Piazza tripled for just the 7th time in his career.

Regardless of how things turn out in Los Angeles tonight, the Padres will have maintained at least a half game lead. At present, the Dogers are leading the D-Backs, 2-0 in the last of the 8th, with Takashi Saito being called upon to earn a 4-out save.

I suppose if Chris Carpenter can pitch on zero days rest, the Cardinals have a slim chance in the NL playoffs. But Tony La Russa is probably all too aware that as messed up as Jason Isringhausen was throughout ’06, Izzy at 75% was preferable to Braden Looper under any circumstances.

Congrats to the Sultan Of Surly on tying Hank Aaron as the National League’s Career HR King with his 733rd longball in tonight’s losing effort against Milwaukee. I kinda thought the mid-game ceremony was a bit much (speeches from Bud Selig, Aaron, Butch Vig, etc.) and some will question whether it was really necessary for President Bush to phone Barry run after the game.

Pending the results at Chavez Ravine, Philadelphia will either remain a half game out of the NL Wild Card lead or they’ll have overtaken the Dodgers, courtesy of Friday’s 5-2 defeat of the Fish. Ryan Howard (above) hit his 58th HR, and Cole Hamels whiffed 10 in 6 and two-thirds innings of work, picking up his 9th win.