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Around the NL Central: May 19 Edition

News from around the Central:

 Yesterday's action:

  • Who put a quarter in Charlie Morton? The young Pirate continued his string of impressive performance to open the 2011 season, as he limited Cincinnati to five hits and two walks while striking out five in a complete game shutout. Morton is now 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA on the year. Pittsburgh got its offense courtesy of a three-run homer by Pedro Alvarez (his second) and a two-run homer by Andrew McCutchen (his eighth), and the Pirates snapped a six-game losing skid with the 5-0 victory.
  • Kyle Lohse was almost as good as Morton in St. Louis' 5-1 over Houston last night: Lohse went eight strong, scattering six hits and giving up a single run while striking out three, and he's now 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA on the young season. Pete Kozma drove in a pinch-hit run and Jon Jay drove in two for the Cardinals, who are now just a half-game back of the Reds in the division race.
  • The Marlins and Cubs traded runs and the lead several times last night, but Marlon Byrd swung the balance for Chicago with a solo homer off of Edward Mujica in the eighth inning as the Cubs grabbed a 7-5 win in Miami. Cub starter Ryan Dempster was roughed up again, though, surrendering five runs on eight hits and two walks in just five innings as his ERA creeped closer to 7.00 on the year (it's now 6.91).
Your updated standings for May 19:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Reds 25 18 -- 8-2 L1
Cardinals 25 19 0.5 6-4 W3
Brewers 21 22 4.0 7-3 W1
Pirates 19 23 5.5 4-6 W1
Cubs 18 23 6.0 4-6 W1
Astros 15 28 10.0 2-8 L4


On tap for today:

  • The Reds and Pirates wrap up their two-game set with an early 11:35 a.m. CDT start in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh starts struggling righty James McDonald (2-3, 6.20), while the Reds send the white-hot (in a small sample size) Johnny Cueto (2-0, 0.00) to the bump.
  • St. Louis and Houston also finish their two-game series; game time is 12:45 p.m. CDT from Busch Stadium.  Lefty J.A. Happ (3-4, 5.4) starts for the 'Stros, and he's opposed by Kyle McClellan (5-1, 3.62).
  • Chicago has to play a night game on getaway day, with a 6:10 p.m. game in Miami vs. the Marlins. Casey Coleman, who's been downright dreadful this year (1-3, 7.22) and is only in the rotation because James Russell was somehow worse, takes the ball for the Cubs. The Fish start Chris Volstad (2-2, 5.77).