News and notes from around the Central:
- I feel like our gloating about the Cardinals' trade of Colby Rasmus for a pitcher who's going to be a free agent at the end of the year might've contributed to Rickie Weeks' injury last night, so I'm not going to say anything more about it. Instead, I'll tell you about Lance Berkman, who got a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder and expects to return on Friday.
- The Pirates placed infielder Chase d'Arnaud on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured pinky finger and summoned reliever Chris Leroux to fill d'Arnaud's spot on the active roster. Leroux was immediately thrown into the fire last night and was saddled with the loss in Atlanta's 10-inning win at Turner Field.
- With the trade of outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Nationals, Cincinnati skipper Dusty Baker says that Chris Heisey is going to get the majority of the starts in left field going forward.
- There's talk that the Cubs are trying to convince the Yankees to take Carlos Zambrano off their hands, and Chicago is offering to absorb a good deal of Z's salary to make the deal happen. For his part, Zambrano says he hasn't been approached about waiving his no-trade clause and wants to stay in Chicago.
- The Phillies reportedly offered the Astros a package of three prospects for Houston outfielder Hunter Pence -- including Single A outfielder Jonathan Singleton and pitcher Jarred Cosart -- but the Astros declined, and it now seems highly unlikely that Houston's asking price for Pence will be met before the trading deadline.
- The good, the bad, and the ugly: Milwaukee blanked Chicago, 2-0. Wooo. Rickie Weeks got hurt. Booo. It looks bad. BOOOO.
- The Brewers regained sole possession of first place thanks to Houston's 4-2 victory over St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Future Brewer (please, infant baby Jesus, please) Clint Barmes staked the 'Stros to a 2-0 lead with a second inning homer, but the Cards rallied to tie the game on Jon Jay's fourth-inning double and Yadier Molina's RBI single in the sixth. The game stayed tied until the ninth, when the Astros, despite their best efforts, plated a couple of runs: Barmes led off the ninth with a double but was thrown out at third on Carlos Corporan's sac bunt attempt. After Matt Downs struck out, Michael Bourn walked, and recent call-up Jose Altuve singled to drive in Corporan, and Bourn followed close behind when Jay's throw to the plate hit the foot of on-deck batter Jason Bourgeois. The Cards had the tying run on in the bottom of the ninth, but Mark Melancon fanned Albert Pujols to end the threat.
Pittsburgh lost its second straight extra inning game in Atlanta, as the Braves walked off with another win, 2-1, in 10 innings. After the 19-inning affair on Tuesday, both teams needed long outings from their respective starters, and Paul Maholm and Jair Jurrjens obliged: both pitchers worked seven innings and each allowed just one run, with Jurrjens giving up Garrett Jones' 10th homer in the sixth inning and Maholm giving up an RBI single to David Ross in the sixth. The Braves got the win in the 10th when Nate McLouth singled and moved to third on Freddie Freeman's one-out knock to right field. After an intentional walk, Ross struck again with a single to left to plate McLouth with the winning run.
Cincinnati fell 5.5 games off the pace in the Central by dropping its third straight game to the Mets, 8-2, at Great American Ballpark. The Mets set the tone for the night by scoring two runs in the first on Angel Pagan's 2-RBI double, then tacked on two more in the fifth on Daniel Murphy's double and David Wright's sac fly. The Reds never got anything going against righty Mike Pelfrey, who needed just 108 pitches to work all nine innings; Pelfrey scattered seven hits and gave up two runs (one on Joey Votto's 15th homer) and struck out three to earn his sixth win. Lucas Duda hit a solo homer for New York, and Wright added a backbreaking three-run shot in the seventh.
Your updated standings for July 28:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew and Cubs wrap up their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. CDT at Miller Park. Shaun Marcum (9-3, 3.35) faces Randy Wells (2-3, 6.17) in the finale.
- The Cards and 'Stros finish their four-game series at 7:15 p.m. CDT tonight. Wandy Rodriguez (6-7, 3.60) starts for the Astros, and he'll face Jaime Garcia (10-4, 3.01).
- The Pirates and Braves will probably play another extra inning game tonight, if the last two days are any indication. Game four starts at 6:10 p.m. CDT, when Derek Lowe (6-8, 4.49) faces Kevin Correia (11-8, 4.38).
- The Reds try to salvage a game in their series with the Mets at 11:35 a.m. CDT this morning. Former Brewer Chris Capuano (8-10, 4.26) takes on Homer Bailey (5-4, 3.67) in this one.