News and notes from around the Central:
- St. Louis reliever Mitchell Boggs has been dealing with recurrent back pain for the last year, and the pain knocked him out of action for the past weekend. An MRI revealed that Boggs has a bulging disc, and he's been given a list of exercises to complete to keep the pain tolerable.
- To clear a spot on the 25-man roster for the newly-acquired Derrek Lee, the Pirates designated first baseman Lyle Overbay for assignment. Overbay's tenure with the Bucs ends with a less-than-impressive .227/.300/.349 line.
- After clubbing four homers and driving in nine runs from July 25-31, Reds first baseman Joey Votto was an easy choice for NL Player of the Week. It's the second time in his career that Votto has earned the weekly honor.
- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez was held out of yesterday's game against the Pirates after experiencing tightness in his quadriceps during Sunday's win over St. Louis. Cryin' Mike Quade says that Ramirez is considered day-to-day and might be available to pinch hit tonight.
- It was more than a little surprising that the going-nowhere-fast Astros held on to shortstop Clint Barmes at the trading deadline, but GM Ed Wade says that he wanted Barmes around the clubhouse for the rest of the season working with Houston's young players.
Milwaukee's winning streak now stands at seven and its division lead is up to 3.5 games after a come-from-behind, 6-2 victory over St. Louis last night at Miller Park. KL has your Recap of Joy here.
Chicago used a three-run outburst in the sixth inning to steal a 5-3 victory over Pittsburgh at PNC Park. Starlin Castro led off the sixth with a single and Jeff Baker followed with another, and Geovany Soto plated Castro when he ripped a line drive double to left field. After an intentional walk, Alfonso Soriano drove in another run with an RBI ground-out, and Carlos Pena drove in the third run of the inning with a sac fly to left field. That was all the support Carlos Zambrano needed, as the mercurial one worked six effective innings (seven hits, one run, three walks, five strikeouts). Kerry Wood made things interesting by giving up two runs in the eighth inning on former Cub Derrek Lee's second homer of the night (Lee finished 2-for-4 with the two homers and three driven in), but Carlos Marmol nailed down his 21st save with a three-up, three-down ninth inning.
Cincinnati lost a gut-punch game in Houston, as the Astros won, 4-3, in 10 innings. Houston's bats went quiet after a three-run second inning (caped by Jimmy Paredes two-RBI triple), but the Reds couldn't get much offense going against Bud Norris: despite working Norris for ten hits and three walks in just five innings, the Reds only notched three runs on Joey Votto's RBI double, Brandon Phillips' RBI single, and a run-scoring, double play ground-out from Jay Bruce. The Astros loaded the bases in the 10th on a single by Humberto Quintero, a pinch-hit single by Angel Sanchez, and an intentional walk to Brian Bogusevic. Jose Altuve followed with a shot back up the middle which was gloved by Phillips, who fired to home plate in plenty of time to force Quintero ... but catcher Ryan Hanigan dropped the ball and Quintero scored the winning run.
Your updated standings for August 1:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew and Cards are back at it at 7:10 p.m. CDT at Miller Park, when Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33) takes on Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14).
- The Pirates try to rebound from last night's loss to the Cubs at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Kevin Correia (12-8, 4.24) faces Randy Wells (2-4, 6.16) in this one.
- Houston and Cincinnati play game two of their series at 7:05 p.m. CDT at Minute Maid Park. Homer Bailey (5-5, 4.68) is on the bump for the Reds, while Wandy Rodriguez (7-7, 3.47) starts for the 'Stros.