News from around the Central:
- New Astros shortstop Clint Barmes has started a minor league rehab assignment after missing the start of the season with a broken bone in his left hand. If things go as planned, he could make his season (and Astro) debut on Friday against the Brewers.
- It's a homecoming of a different sort for Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, who makes his first trip to Minute Maid Park as a visiting player tonight. One person who's not happy to see Berkman: Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who blasted Berkman in a radio interview and intimated that he wasn't giving it his all in his last years in Houston.
- In other rehab notes: injured Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey is going to make one more start for AAA Louisville before rejoining the Reds. Bailey's been out with a balky right shoulder.
- Aggressive (or, perhaps more accurately, reckless) baserunning seems to be the topic du jour around the Central: a day after Andrew McCutchen was thrown out trying to tag up on a shallow fly ball with Pittsburgh down three in the ninth, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle defended the decision by pointing out that he's preached aggressive baseball since the first practice in Spring Training.
- Meanwhile, Cryin' Mike Quade took a day off from complaining about other teams continuing to play the game when his squad has already thrown in the towel and gave Aramis Ramirez a breather in Monday's game vs. Colorado. Ramirez has reached base safely in the first 21 games of the season.
Last night's action:
- St. Louis was idle.
- Cincinnati continued its confounding domination of the Crew, using a six-run third inning to chase Chris Narveson from the game in an eventual 9-5 win over Milwaukee.
- After scoring three runs in the bottom of the first (thanks, in part, to a homer off the bat of Darwin Barney), Chicago's bats went quiet. Compounding that problem, Starlin Castro gave the Cubs' early lead right back, committing three errors in the second inning as the Rockies evened the score at 3. The Rox tacked on two more in the fifth (and Castro committed another error in the frame) and took a 5-3 decision over the Baby Bears.
- Pittsburgh finished its series with Washington with a win, scoring four runs in the fourth inning in a 4-2 win over the Nats in Pittsburgh. Paul Maholm settled down after surrendering two runs in the first inning, blanking the Nationals for the next six innings while striking out eight.
- Houston had the day off.
Your updated standings for April 26:
On tap for tonight:
- The Redbirds open a three-game series in Houston against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CDT. Left-hander Jaime Garcia (3-0, 1.44) starts for the Cards and Bud Norris (1-1, 4.91) takes the ball for the Astros.
- The Brewers and Reds play game two of their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. CDT in Milwaukee. The Crew sends Marco Estrada (1-0, 3.21) to the mound, while Mike Leake (3-0, 4.94) tries to steal one for the Redlegs. (Tip your waitress.)
- The Cubs continue their series with the Rockies, with James Russell (1-2, 8.00) scheduled to face Jorge de la Rosa (3-0, 3.00) at 7:05 p.m. CDT in Chicago.
- The Pirates open a home series with the Giants at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Pittsburgh starts Charlie Morton (2-1, 3.33), and Matt Cain (2-1, 3.42) is on the slab for San Francisco.