News and notes from around the Central:
- The news isn't good for injured Pirate outfielder Jose Tabata, who's struggled to come back from a strained quadriceps that's sidelined him for a month: Tabata has lingering tightness in the muscle and hasn't been able to continue his rehab assignment for Single-A Bradenton. Now he's being shut down, and he'll come back to Pittsburgh to be examined by team doctors.
- In other injury news: Cardinal utilityman Allen Craig has been out since early June after breaking a bone in his right knee while crashing into the wall in Houston. Craig isn't expected back until August 1 at the earliest, but he finally played in a game for AAA Memphis, going 1-3 with a double on Saturday.
- Rookie Reds shortstop Zack Cozart landed on the 15-day DL after suffering a scary injury in Saturday's game against Atlanta: Nate McLouth slid into Cozart's left arm while Cozart attempted to field a throw from Joey Votto, and Cozart suffered a hyperextended elbow that's going to keep him out for two weeks. The Reds recalled SS Paul Janish from AAA Louisville to take Cozart's spot on the roster.
- The Cubs won three games in a row for the first time this year. It's July 25.
- The Phillies and Astros swung a big trade last year, when Roy Oswalt was shipped to Philadelphia in exchange for J.A. Happ (among others). There are rumblings there might be another big trade between the teams this season, as the Phils have reportedly targeted Houston's Hunter Pence. Philly.com's Paul Hagen says that trade should be a no-brainer.
Milwaukee lost because Josh Wilson didn't wear sunglasses on a cloudless Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Er sumthin.' You want more? Then read this.
- There's now a three-way tie atop the Central after Pittsburgh staved off the sweep, defeating St. Louis in walkoff fashion, 4-3, in 10 innings. The Bucs tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh when Steve Pearce grounded into a double play that scored Ronny Cedeno, who doubled to open the frame and moved to third base on Eric Fryer's "oops, that was supposed to be a sacrifice" bunt single. The Pirates held the Cardinals scorless for the next three innings and then grabbed the win with a one-out rally in the 10th: Xavier Paul beat out an infield single after Fryer grounded out, swiped second base and moved to third when Gerald Laird threw the ball into center field. Chase d'Arnaud then lifted a fly ball to shallow center field, but that was enough to plate Paul and win the game.
- The Reds climbed within a game of .500 with a walkoff win of their own, as Drew Stubbs' ninth inning homer lifted Cincinnati to a 4-3 win over Atlanta on Sunday night. The Reds handed Dontrelle Willis an early 3-0 lead, thanks to a two-run homer by Brandon Phillips and a solo homer by Miguel Cairo, but Willis couldn't protect it: the left-hander gave two runs back in the fourth (on Brian McCann's 18th homer and Wilkin Ramirez's run-scoring ground out) and then surrendered the lead when Julio Lugo singled to drive in Nate McLouth in the seventh. But Stubbs erased those memories by hammering the first pitch he saw from Scott Linebrink out to right field.
Chicago also got in the walkoff act, sweeping Houston out of town with a 5-4, 10-inning win on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Cubs looked to have this one in hand early, as Geovany Soto and Darwin Barney doubled in runs in the first inning and Matt Garza helped his own cause with an RBI single. But the 'Stros clawed their way back into the game: Hunter Pence drove in a run in the fifth with an RBI ground out, and Carlos Lee gave Houston a short-lived 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the eighth. But the Cubs knotted the game at 4 in eighth on Alfonso Soriano's RBI single and then won it in the 10th when Jeff Baker singled in Marlon Byrd, who had started the inning with a triple.
Your updated standings for July 25:
On tap for tonight:
- The Pirates schedule doesn't get any easier following the three-game series with the Cardinals: tonight, the Bucs are in Atlanta to start a four-game series with the Braves at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Scheduled to start: for the Pirates, James McDonald (6-4, 4.15); for the Braves, Tim Hudson (9-6, 3.39).
- The Cardinals welcome the Astros to town at 7:15 p.m. CDT, when Kyle McClellan (6-6, 4.34) faces J.A. Happ (4-11, 5.88), who's been a poor man's Doug Davis this season.
- The Reds host the Mets at Great American Ballpark at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Mike Leake (8-5, 4.11) is on the bump for the Reds, while R.A. Dickey (4-8, 3.80) starts for New York.
- The Brewers and Cubs have the day off.