News from around the Central:
- The walking wounded for St. Louis now includes infielder Allen Craig, who fouled a ball off his left calf on Friday and wasn't available for Saturday's game against Milwaukee. Ryan Theriot was also held out of yesterday's contest with his bruised shin.
- In other injury news around the Central: Reds shortstop Paul Janish sprained his right ankle sliding into third base in Friday's win over Chicago. He missed Saturday's game, but manager Dusty Baker doesn't expect Janish to be placed on the disabled list.
- Today's final injury note: Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez hasn't played since Tuesday because of a strained quadriceps, and the Pirates have been making do with a four-man bench since then. The hope is that Alvarez will be able to return to action today and won't have to be placed on the DL.
- One year ago yesterday, Starlin Castro made a stirring debut for the Cubs, driving in six runs in a win over the Reds. Yesterday, though, Castro, who's in a 7-for-47 skid, was held out of the lineup in favor of rookie Darwin Barney.
- Looks like I spoke too soon: there's one other injury note on the day. Astro Jason Bourgeois (who faithful readers will remember is swinging a hot stick as of late) made his first-ever start at second base in yesterday's game against Pittsburgh. He then strained an oblique (but honesty, who hasn't this year?) and had to leave in the sixth inning.
- Milwaukee used a dominant performance from Yovani Gallardo and a clutch, two-run triple from Carlos Gomez to end a seven-game skid as the Crew blanked St. Louis, 4-0. Our recap is here.
- Cincinnati held a 2-1 lead on the Cubs going into the bottom of the ninth, but Francisco Cordero promptly blew his first save opportunity of the year -- he surrendered a game-tying homer to Carlos Pena, the first batter he faced in the ninth -- and then gave up the game, as Kosuke Fukudome singled in Blake DeWitt with two out. Chicago wins, 3-2.
- Pittsburgh rode a 7+ inning, five-strikeout performance from Charlie Morton to an easy 6-1 win over Houston. The Pirates got all the offense they needed in a three-run second inning: Lyle Overbay hit a solo homer (his second on the year) and Andrew McCutchen doubled in two runs. Brandon Wood also doubled in a pair of runs for the Bucs in the eighth inning.
Your updated standings for May 8:
CENTRALPALOOZA wraps up today:
- St. Louis and Milwaukee finish their series with a 1:15 p.m. CDT contest. St. Louis right-hander Kyle McClellan (4-0, 3.79) is scheduled to face Milwaukee's Chris Narveson (1-2, 4.64).
- The Reds and Cubs conclude their three-game set with a 1:20 p.m. start at Wrigley Field. Johnny Cueto makes his season debut for Cincinnati, facing Chicago's Ryan Dempster (1-3, 8.05).
- The Pirates and Astros wrap up their three-game series at 12:35 p.m. CDT this afternoon. Houston's J.A. Happ (2-4, 6.23) matches up with Pittsburgh's James McDonald (2-2, 6.75).