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Giants get help from Phillies as wild-card race tightens

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Baseball payers are more spread out than they used to be, and they spend far less time indoors while at the ballpark, but they still find a way to be in front of the TV this time of year.

Before facing the Rockies on Tuesday, Giants left-hander Drew Smyly said he watched a bit of the back half of a Phillies-Nationals doubleheader that proved to be disastrous for Gabe Kapler's old team and helpful to his new one. 

Later, the Giants got more news that could be helpful over their final six games. The Dodgers wrapped up the NL West for the eighth consecutive year, meaning the Padres will be locked into the No. 4 seed when they arrive at Oracle Park on Friday, perhaps causing them to pull back on the gas a bit. 

The Giants continue to get help elsewhere, but they know that the only thing that matters is winning every night. Their destiny is in their own hands. 

"You don't put too much into it," Smyly said of that Phillies result. "You know that if we win, we're going to be in the playoffs."

They did on Tuesday, gaining ground. Here's what the race looks like with five days to go:

Cardinals (27-25): Austin Gomber pitched six shutout innings as they took care of business against the lowly Royals. It's a couple of veterans -- Carlos Martinez and Danny Duffy -- on the mound today at Kauffman Stadium as the Cardinals look for a very necessary series win. Getting three games above .500 would pretty much guarantee them a spot. 


Marlins (28-27): These guys are still in a playoff spot but have a tendency to get blown out when they lose. They fell 11-1 to the Braves, who took the first two games of this series to wrap up the NL East title. The Marlins are still 1 1/2 games up on the Phillies for the second automatic berth in the division. They'll send rookie sensation Sixto Sanchez to the mound Wednesday against Cy Young candidate Max Fried in the day's most fascinating matchup. 

Reds (28-28), Brewers (27-27): We'll list them together today, as they have the same winning percentage and both are currently in because they hold the tiebreaker (in-division record) over the Giants. It's Trevor Bauer vs. Adrian Houser tonight, a serious mismatch on paper, although Bauer is pitching on just three days rest. 

Phillies (26-28): Kapler's old players had a disastrous day in the nation's capital. A day after they lost with Zack Wheeler on the mound, the Phillies fell 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader with co-ace Aaron Nola starting. The nightcap added to their misery, and cost them quite a bit. 

In a seven-inning game, the Phillies led 7-6 in the eighth but lost when 32-year-old Yadiel Hernandez hit a two-run homer off Brandon Workman. Hernandez became the oldest player to hit a walk-off for his first big league homer, and he continued a season-long issue for Philadelphia's bullpen, which has a 7.21 ERA. You read that correctly.

The Phillies have lost four straight to fall out of a playoff position.

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