News and notes from around the Central:
- Our Man of Never-ending Respectfulness set a major-league record last night when he hit his 30th homer of the year off Jeff Karstens: the homer -- which Al Pujols took a moment or two to admire -- made it 11 seasons in a row of 30+ homers for the Cards first baseman.
- The Reds are getting dangerously thin at shortstop: having already lost rookie Zack Cozart for the year with an injury to his left elbow, the Reds lost Edgar Renteria to a strained groin in the seventh inning of yesterday's contest against the Nationals. Renteria will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
- The Pirates got one player back, activating outfielder Jose Tabata after a month-and-a-half on the DL, and shipped out another: the Bucs sent slumping third baseman Pedro Alvarez to AAA Indianapolis to work out the kinks in his swing.
- It's usually not big news when a team signs an 11th round draft pick, but when that draft pick is named Shawon Dunston, Jr. and the team that signed him is the Cubs, it's a different story.
- In your weekly Jordan Schafer note (I'm sorry, but there's really not much going on with the Astros these days): the new Astro is finally healthy enough to begin a minor-league rehab assignment, and he'll head to AAA Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
- Another standard issue, walk-off win for the Crew last night: this time, Mark Kotsay got his turn in the spotlight with a laser to center field that scored Prince Fielder for the winning run. Here's our recap of Milwaukee 2, Los Angeles 1.
- The Cards and Pirates went back and forth all night, with St. Louis grabbing a run in the second on Skip Schumaker's run-scoring single, Pittsburgh answering with three runs of their own in the third on Andrew McCutchen's three-run bomb to left field, and the Cards tying the score in the sixth on Al Pujols' 30th homer and David Freese's RBI double. With the game still tied in the ninth, Matt Holliday plated Jon Jay (who led off the inning with a double) with a sac fly to hand Fernando Salas a save opportunity, but Salas blew that chance immediately by surrendering a first pitch homer to Neil Walker in the bottom of the ninth. Garrett Jones then sent the home fans happy in the bottom of the 11th with a massive homer off of new Cardinal Arthur Rhodes.
- Cincinnati jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against the Nationals, but Mike Leake and the Reds' defense couldn't make the lead stand up: Leake gave the lead away in the first inning by giving up three first-inning runs (Michael Morse RBI double, and Ian Desmond 2-RBI single) and the Nats tacked on single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth inning en route to a 6-4 victory. For the day, Leake worked 6.0 innings, giving up seven hits and six runs (five earned) while striking out five. Morse was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, and Ryan Zimmerman added a solo homer of his own.
- Sometimes I just like to post the play by play of an inning in these recaps. Last night's Cubs-Astros game fits the bill. So let's go to the ninth, with the Cubs cruising along with a 5-2 lead and Carlos Marmol on the mound: Paredes lined out to left; Shuck singled on a ground ball to right field; wild pitch by Marmol, Shuck advanced to second; Barmes singled on a line drive to left field, Shuck to third; Downs walked, Barmes to second; Brian Bogusevic homered to center field, Shuck, Barmes, and Downs scored. The walk-off grand slam gives Houston an improbable 6-5 win over Chicago and boosts Marmol's ERA to 4.08 on the year.
Your updated standings for August 17:
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew and Dodgers are back in action at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight, when Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.08) takes on Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64).
- The Cardinals and Pirates conclude their series at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Kyle Lohse (10-7, 3.37) faces Paul Maholm (6-13, 3.60) in this one.
- Cincinnati and Washington resume their series at 6:05 p.m. CDT at Nationals Park. Johnny Cueto (8-5, 1.94) is on the bump for the Reds, and Ross Detwiler (1-2, 3.20) takes the ball for the Nats.
- The Cubs wrap up their series with the Astros at 1:05 p.m. CDT. Casey Coleman (2-4, 7.23) gets the call for the Cubs in the finale, and Bud Norris (5-8, 3.55) will be on the hill for the 'Stros.