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Around the NL Central: May 21

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News from around the Central:

The Pirates may be considering taking Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen with the first overall pick in this year's amateur draft.

The Pirates also placed former first round pick Pedro Alvarez on the DL due to a right quad injury.  Called up in his place is Pedro Ciriaco.  The 25 year old Ciriaco has hit .190/.193/.255 for AAA Indianapolis this year.

Weirdly, the Pirates and their Indianapolis affiliate made false reports that Ciriaco was held out from Friday's game due to injury, a story that Ciriaco himself confirmed.  Instead, Saturday morning the truth came out that he was held out in case Alvarez went on the DL, which of course happened yesterday.  Pirates GM Neil Huntington issued a statement condemning reporting falsities.  Just kind of a weird situation--I don't really see what the benefit is in making up an excuse as to why Ciriaco wasn't in the game.

Cubs OF Marlon Byrd required a visit to the hospital after a wild pitch hit him in the face in the second inning of yesterday's game.  The pitch opened up a gash just under left eye.

Yesterday's action:

The Astros lost to the Blue Jays 7-5.  The Astros were looking good through five innings up 5-0, but Toronto scored three runs in both the 6th and 7th innings and added one more in the 8th.  Brett Myers line ended up being 6.2 innings, 8 hits, 5 earned runs, and two strikeouts.  Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson, and Brett Wallace all picked up a couple hits for the Astros and Lee even stole his second base of the season.  Jose Bautista, by the way, went 3-4 with two home runs and four RBI. 

The Pirates beat the Tigers 6-2 to further their winning streak to four games in front of a sell out crowd at PNC Park.  Kevin Correia made it through 6.2 innings allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four.  Andrew McCutchen had a good day leading off, going 3-4 with two runs, while Jose Tabata went 2-4 and also scored two runs.

The Cardinals beat the Royals 3-0Jake Westbrook pitched a very good game, going eight innings and allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out three.  Fernando Salas closed it out in the ninth and has not yet blown his shot at the Cardinals' closer role.  All three Cardinals runs were scored in the 8th and 9th innings, including a two run homer from Matt Holliday

The Reds lost to the Indians 2-1 to bring their current losing streak to four games.  Homer Bailey pitched well, giving up just 2 ER in seven innings and striking out four.  The Reds only managed four hits, though, including two from Ryan Hanigan

The Cubs beat the Red Sox 9-3Carlos Zambrano gave up three runs through 5.2 innings.  The Cubs played some small ball here, though, scoring nine runs without a home run.  Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney each picked up a couple of hits and Reed Johnson went 1-4 with 2 RBI.

Your updated standings for May 20:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Cardinals 27 20 -- 6-4 W1
Reds 25 21 1.5 5-5 L4
Brewers 23 23 3.5 7-3 W2
Pirates 22 23 4.0 4-6 W4
Cubs 20 24 5.5 5-5 W1
Astros 16 30 10.5 3-7 L1


On tap for today:

The Reds and Edinson Volquez (3-1, 5.59) hope to break their losing streak and beat the Indians and Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 5.03)

The Pirates hope to extend their winning streak as Paul Maholm (1-6, 3.67) goes up against the Tigers Rick Porcello (3-2, 3.67).

The Astros and Wandy Rodriguez (2-3, 3.45) take on the Blue Jays and Kyle Drabek (3-2, 4.32).

The Cardinals and Jaime Garcia (5-0, 1.64) face the Royals and Sean O'Sullivan (2-3, 4.65).

The Cubs finish up their series with the Red Sox.  It's James Russell (1-4, 6.26) versus Tim Wakefield (0-1, 5.40)

Randy Wolf takes on Ubaldo Jiminez as the Brewers look to sweep the Rockies.