News and notes from around the Central:
- After missing six weeks because of lingering problems from an oblique strain, Cards utilityman Nick Punto was activated from the disabled list. Punto was 3-for-15 in five rehab games for AAA Memphis.
- The Reds made the last of their September call-ups by recalling left-hander Travis Wood from AAA Louisville. Wood was disappointing in a starting role for the Reds this year -- he's 6-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 18 games (16 starts) -- and he might pitch out of the 'pen for the rest of the year.
- Pittsburgh speedster Jose Tabata had to leave Monday's game after his troublesome left wrist started acting up, and on Tuesday the team learned that Tabata has a small fracture in one of the metacarpals on his left hand. There's no need to place Tabata on the DL, so the team will let him rest for 10 days and then re-evaluate the injury.
- When you're 20 games under .500 and you've already been eliminated from the division race, these are the things you worry about: after more than six decades, it looks like the Cubs are going to stop serving Old Style beer at Wrigley Field, a decision that isn't sitting well with some fans.
- The Astros activated reliever Sergio Escalona from the 15-day DL on Tuesday. Escalona had been sidelined with tendinitis in his elbow for the last two weeks, but he had a successful rehab stint and is ready for action.
- Another chance to drive a stake through the Cardinals' heart, another lackluster start by Yovani Gallardo: Yo's all-time record against the Cards dropped to 1-7 as he surrendered tape-measure shots to Jon Jay and Matt Holliday as St. Louis defeated Milwaukee, 4-2. Our recap is here.
- Cincinnati needed 13 innings to do it, but after Mike Leake blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning, the Reds eventually rallied for a 4-2 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. The Reds got two runs in the sixth on Joey Votto's double and a run-scoring DP off the bat of Devin Mesoraco, but Leake coughed up that advantage (and lost his shutout) when someone named Bryan LaHair jacked a two-run, two-out bomb in the ninth to knot the game at 2. But the Reds got the win thanks to back-to-back doubles from Dave Sappelt and Votto and a run-scoring single from Miguel Cairo in the 13th.
Houston pushed Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination with a 4-1 victory at PNC Park. Brett Myers returned from paternity leave with a flourish, working 7.2 innings of four-hit ball (one run) while striking out six. Brad Lincoln was almost as good, giving up five hits and striking out six in six innings, but the Astros got two runs in the second on Jimmy Paredes RBI groundout and Humberto Quintero's run-scoring double. Quintero was the hitting hero for the 'Stros, as he drove in two more insurance runs with a single in the ninth to account for the final margin.
Your updated standings for September 7:
|W||L||GB||Last 10||Streak||Elimination #
The Wild Card race looks like this right now:
And here are the playoff participants, if the season ended today:
Braves (Wild Card)
On tap for today:
- The Crew and Cardinals wrap things up for their season series at 7:15 p.m., when Zack Greinke (14-5, 4.00) faces Chris Carpenter (8-9, 3.92).
- The Reds and Cubs conclude their series at 7:05 p.m. CDT at Wrigley Field. Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.29) battles Ryan Dempster (10-11, 4.75) in this one.
- The Pirates and Astros are back in action at 6:05 p.m. CDT at PNC Park. Brian Burres (1-0, 1.69) is on the bump for the Bucs, while J.A. Happ (5-15, 5.71) starts for the 'Stros.