News from around the Central:
- In your daily Cardinals injury update: right-hander Kyle Lohse came away bruised after taking a one-hopper off the shin during Monday's start, but he's not expected to miss any time with the boo-boo. And in your daily Cardinals RESPECT update: skipper Tony LaRussa was none too pleased that a couple of Fish razzed Lohse from the dugout after he was hit by the comebacker.
- Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto is ready to be activated from the disabled list, and he'll make his season debut against the Cubs on Sunday. Word is that the Reds plan to send Mike Leake to the bullpen to make room in the rotation for Cueto.
- Although it's not yet at the epidemic level seen in St. Louis, the Pirates suffered another injury last night: Pedro Alvarez had to exit last night's game against the Padres because of tightness in his right quadriceps. Alvarez says he doesn't expect to miss a lot of time with the injury.
- With Carlos Lee recovering from bruised ribs, the Astros have moved Brett Wallace into Lee's customary cleanup spot for the time being. Wallace has an 11-game hitting streak after homering in Tuesday's game vs. the Reds, and he's hitting .535 during the streak.
- Cubs' rookie Darwin Barney (no, I still can't believe that's actually his name) was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April. Barney hit .326 and drove in 14 runs last month.
Last night's action:
- On the strength of rookie Daniel Descalso's first big league homer, St. Louis rallied for a 7-5 win over the Marlins at Busch Stadium. Matt Holliday also homered for the Cards and drove in two runs; he's hitting .409 over the first month of the season. On the other end of spectrum, Albert "And The Word Became Flesh" Pujols continued to scuffle, going 0-5 as his average dropped to a Gomez-ian .231.
- Even without injured slugger Carlos Lee, Houston had no problems with Cincinnati: the Astros singled the Reds to death in a pivotal six-run fourth inning and cruised to a 10-4 victory at Great American Bandbox. Astro starter J.A. Happ pitched 6.1 effective innings with the big lead, giving up four runs while striking out five.
- Pittsburgh again jumped out to an early lead on San Diego, scoring two runs before the Padres came up to bat. But the Pirates couldn't hold on, and San Diego catcher Rob Johnson broke a 5-5 tie with an eighth inning homer as the Padres claimed a 6-5 victory. Newly-acquired Buc Xavier Paul continued his solid play, picking up two hits in four at-bats to run his average to .360 on the young season.
- Chicago starter Ryan Dempster finally seemed to figure things out last night in Los Angeles: the Cub right-hander, who came into the game with an ERA over 9.00, pitched seven strong innings, limiting the Dodgers to one run on six hits while fanning five. The hero of the night for Chicago, though, was Geovany Soto, who doubled in two runs with two down in the ninth to boost the Cubs to a 4-1 win.
Your updated standings for May 4:
On tap for tonight:
- St. Louis continues its four-game series with Florida with a 7:15 p.m. CDT contest. Chris Carpenter looks for his first win of the season (0-2, 3.89) against Florida's Javier Vazquez (2-2, 6.39).
- The Astros look to run their winning streak to four games in an 11:35 a.m. CDT start against the Reds. Aneury Rodriguez (0-0, 6.75) gets his first start for Houston, matching up with Cincinnati left-hander Travis Wood (1-3, 6.82).
- The Pirates wrap up their series with San Diego with a 5:35 p.m. CDT game this afternoon. Former Padre Kevin Correia (4-2, 2.90) takes the ball for the Pirates, while Clayton Richard (1-2, 3.82) starts for the Padres.
- The Cubs and Dodgers also play the finale of their three-game set this afternoon at 2:10 p.m. CDT. The mercurial Carlos Zambrano (3-1, 4.91) is on the bump for the Baby Bears, opposed by former Cub Ted Lilly (2-2, 4.45).