The Lineup: Russell Martin sets the stage

Boom goes the dynamite. (US Presswire)

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Wednesday delivered plenty of action, and Thursday promises a David-and-Goliath affair with playoff implications ...

Full Wednesday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all games

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3 UP

Gio Gonzalez , Nationals: Dominant is what Gonzalez was against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth and on the day struck out nine, walked none and gave up three hits across 7.0 shutout innings. If you're into things like pitcher win-loss records, then you'll be interested to know that it was the 18th victory of the year for Gonzalez. He also lowered his ERA to 2.98.

Russell Martin , New York Yankees : While it's too dramatic to call the Yanks' triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night a "must win," it was certainly a much-needed win for the previously spiraling Bombers. The man most responsible for that win? Martin, who went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double. He also paced the Yanks for the night in win probability added, which means he did more to improve the team's chances of winning than anyone else. So here he is.

Adrian Beltre , Texas Rangers : While it is not a hard-and-fast rule, it is a guiding principle: hit two triples in one game, and you make 3 Up. So it is with the most excellent Beltre. In the process of hitting those two tripes, Beltre drove in three runs and scored two. He's now hitting .318/.354/.553 on the season.

3 DOWN

Josh Reddick , A's: If the A's are going to see this improbable playoff run through, then they'll likely need more from the guy who carried them through much of the first half. Coming into Wednesday night, Reddick was hitting a meager .243/.282/.434 since the break, and then he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four runners left on base. During that debilitating sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels , Reddick went 1-for-12.

Adam Wainwright , St. Louis Cardinals : For much of the second half, it looked like Wainwright was back to his old ace-like self. However, after his rough outing against the New York Mets on Wednesday he's now given up 11 runs on 17 hits in his last 7 2/3 innings pitched. The Cardinals cling to the last NL wild-card berth by a thin margin, so they could use a vintage Waino the rest of the way.

Ryan Ludwick , Cincinnati Reds : While Ludwick is having an outstanding season in 2012, he wasn't at his best on Wednesday. In four trips to the plate against the Philadelphia Phillies , the Reds' cleanup hitter (on this day) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, a GIDP and a five runners left on base.

On Deck





A mere five games are on the Thursday docket, but there's intrigue to be found …

Game of inches: Runs have been hard to come by thus far in the Colorado Rockies -Braves series, and that could be the case again on Thursday. Gustavo Chacin, the phenom who's been outstanding since his return from the DL, will oppose Tim Hudson , the ground-balling Atlanta Braves ace who may be on a hall-of-fame track. 12:10 pm ET

Dr. Z: As the Nats continue to barge toward the NL East title and, perhaps, the top seed in the senior circuit, they'll send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound on Thursday to oppose the Cubs. Zimmermann is coming off one of the worst outings of his career, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. With the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg looming, Zimmermann's near-term prospects are about to become that much more important. 7:05 pm ET

Showdown: No need for throat-clearing: It's Yankees-Orioles. It's the start of a huge four-game set in Baltimore Orioles , and this series will obviously have bearing on the AL playoff picture. In the opener, David Phelps opposes Jason Hammel. 7:05 pm ET

Pitching probables for all Thursday games

What's Hot





Wave mutilation: A controversy is presently gripping those who follow the Washington Nationals . We speak, of course, of the propensity of some Nats fans to break into the wave, that exercise in sporting solidarity that's as maligned as it is ubiquitous. Thankfully, D.C Sports Bog will not rest until questions are answered

No home cookin': Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen figures to have plenty of NL-MVP support once the time comes to hand out the hardware. One Pittsburgh Pirates columnist, however, doesn't seem to have gotten the memo

Chronicles of Reddick: How will A's slugger Josh Reddick break out of that slump mentioned above? He's hoping a drop in the batting order is the elixir. [ San Francisco Giants Chronicle]

Burger time: "Nom, nom, nom. Back to you, Chip." [Awful Announcing]

And in closing: Sometimes, a tweet says it all. And then some ... 

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