News from around the Central:
- St. Louis left-fielder Matt Holliday missed his second straight game with the quadriceps injury that's bugged him for the last couple of weeks. Cards skipper Tony LaRussa doesn't expect Holliday to be available for today's series finale in San Diego either.
- With Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez banished to AAA Louisville, Cincinnati is in need of another starter in its rotation, and it's expected that right-hander Mike Leake -- who made a handful of starts earlier this season when Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto were shelved with injuries -- will be summoned to pitch on Friday.
- Pittsburgh sent lefty Daniel Moskos to the minors to make room for reliever Evan Meek, but the move wasn't made because the Pirates were displeased with Moskos' performance: manager Clint Hurdle says that the rookie left-hander showed "growth across the board" in his three-week stint with the big league club.
- Although he poo-pooed concern over the elbow injury that caused his scheduled Sunday start to be scratched, Chicago starter Matt Garza nevertheless ended up on the 15-day DL when an MRI revealed a bone bruise in his right elbow.
- Things are going swimmingly on injured infielder Jeff Keppinger's rehab assignment, and, provided he shows he can play back-to-back games at AAA Oklahoma City, the Astros hope to activate Keppinger in time for Friday's game against Arizona.
- Some day, one would think, the late-game heroics for the Cardinals will come to an end. Yesterday was not that day, however, as St. Louis clipped San Diego, 3-2, in eleven innings at Petco Park. Daniel Descalso was once again the man of the hour for the Redbirds, as he singled in Allen Craig with two down in the 11th to account for the winning margin. Rookie catcher Tony Cruz had a memorable debut with three hits, including a double, and Eduardo Sanchez slammed the door in the bottom of the 11th for his fifth save.
- Cincinnati busted out of a six-game skid with some late-inning heroics of its own, plating three runs in the top of the ninth to snap a 3-3 and claim a 6-3 victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia. The hero for the Reds was right-fielder Jay Bruce, who cleared the bases with a three-run, two-out double in the top of the ninth. Johnny Cueto turned in a quality start with six innings pitched and three runs allowed (all earned) on seven hits and two walks. Francisco Cordero pitched a clean bottom of the ninth for his ninth save.
- Pittsburgh was held scoreless for the second game in a row as Jair Jurrjens blanked the Bucs over 7.2 innings and the Braves took a 2-0 win at PNC Park. Jurrjens scattered six hits and struck out four as he improved to 6-1 on the year and lowered his ERA to 1.56. Charlie Morton was almost as good as Jurrjens, going seven strong and holding the Braves to two runs, but RBIs by Brooks Conrad and Martin Prado in the second and third innings (respectively) were enough for a win on this night.
- Chicago brought out the whuppin' sticks to support right-hander Ryan Dempster: on the strength of five runs in the second and four in the seventh, the Cubs curbstomped the Mets, 11-1, at Wrigley Field. The Baby Bears did all that damage without a homer and only three of their 13 hits went for extra bases, but clutch two-out RBIs by Darwin Barney (2-5, 2 RBI), Starlin Castro (3-5, 2 RBI) and pinch hitter Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 2 RBI) made up for the lack of power. Dempster pitched seven innings and held New York to one run on seven hits while striking out five.
- Houston fell to 13 games below .500 thanks to a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. Former Brewer Bill Hall shoulders most of the blame for this one: in addition to going 0-4 on the night with three strikeouts, Hall booted a two-out, third-inning grounder that loaded the bases for L.A. right-fielder Jerry Sands, who made the Astros pay with a grand slam. J.A. Happ was a hard luck loser for Houston: he allowed five runs in five innings, but, thanks to Hall, only one of those runs was earned.
On tap for tonight:
- St. Louis wraps up its series in San Diego with a late afternoon, 5:35 p.m. CDT game at Petco Park. Chris Carpenter (1-4, 4.88) tries to lead the Cards to a sweep, with Mat Latos (1-6, 4.60) trying to salvage a game for the Padres.
- The Reds continue their series in Philadelphia with a 6:05 p.m. CDT contest at Citizens Bank Park. Travis Wood (3-3, 5.17) gets the call for Cincinnati, and he's opposed by Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.21).
- The Pirates finish their two-game series against the Braves with an early 11:35 a.m. CDT contest at PNC Park. Scheduled to start: for the Bucs, James McDonald (3-3, 5.51); for the Braves, Mike Minor (0-1, 10.38).
- The Cubs and Mets have a 7:05 p.m. CDT game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs start scuffling righty Casey Coleman (2-3, 6.03) while the Mets send Dillon Gee (3-0, 3.44) to the bump.
- Houston concludes its series with Los Angeles at 1:05 p.m. CDT this afternoon, as Dodger lefty Ted Lilly (3-4, 4.71) faces Astro right Aneury Rodriguez (0-2, 5.72).