News from around the Central:
- If you weren't around a TV, a radio, a computer, or a newspaper yesterday, you may have missed the news that Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has a small fracture in his left forearm, suffered when Wilson Betemit ran through Pujols' tag attempt at first base in Sunday's Royals-Cardinals game. The injury will sideline Pujols four-to-six weeks -- or just in time for the St. Louis-Milwaukee series at the beginning of August.
- Johnny Cueto was supposed to start the opener of the Reds series against the Yankees last night, but he was a late scratch with a stiff neck. Cincinnati moved lefty Travis Wood into Cueto's spot (and the results weren't good, as you'll read below), and Cueto will take Wood's turn in the rotation tonight.
- Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton has been a pleasant surprise in a pleasantly-surprising season for the Pirates, but he's scuffled badly in June, putting up an ERA of 8.50 in the month and allowing 17 runs in his last three starts. Manager Clint Hurdle says he's going to look for ways to limit Morton's workload going forward.
- This note has less to do with the Cubs than it has to do with the White Sox, but we can't pass up a good ejection story: Pale Hose skipper Ozzie Guillen got run from last night's game against the Baby Bears after he animatedly protested (does he do it any other way?) a swinging strike call against Alexei Ramirez. Guillen insisted that Ramirez had foul-tipped the pitch and stomped his foot to demonstrate where the ball had hit the dirt. When that didn't get umpire James Hoye's attention, Guillen punted Cubs catcher Geovany Soto's facemask towards the Sox dugout, which drew a hearty chuckle from Soto.
- After learning that he didn't do major damage to his left elbow during Friday's game against the Dodgers, Astro outfielder Hunter Pence said he plans to return to the Houston lineup today.
Milwaukee couldn't stop the bleeding against Tampa Bay, as Chris Narveson blew up in the seventh inning and the Crew got run out of Miller Park (with some escorted out by home plate umpire Bob Davidson), 8-4. Our recap is here.
- Cincinnati tried to rally from a 5-1, ninth-inning deficit against the Yankees, plating a couple of runs that were charged to Luis Ayala (who gave up a single and hit a batter without recording an out) but were actually earned off uber-closer Mariano Rivera. But with the tying run at the plate, Rivera fanned Edgar Renteria to end it, and the Yanks took a 5-3 win at Great American Ballpark. New York jumped out to a 4-0, first-inning lead thanks to an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez and RBI doubles by Robbie Cano and Andruw Jones, and that was all the offense Ivan Nova needed: he worked eight innings, striking out seven while giving up a single run on four hits and no walks.
- Pittsburgh dropped its fourth game in a row to fall two games below .500, losing 8-3 to the Orioles at PNC Park. The O's tattooed Bucs starter Charlie Morton, who gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and a walk in just two innings. Adam Jones, Derrek Lee, Robert Andino, and Baltimore pitcher Jake Arrieta all drove in runs in the Orioles' five-run first inning. J.J. Hardy went 2-4 with a walk and Nick Markakis was 3-5 with a double and two runs scored.
- The Cubs got a strong start from Carlos Zambrano -- eight innings pitched, seven hits, five strikeouts, three earned runs -- but still trailed the White Sox, 3-2, heading into the sixth inning. Starlin Castro and Carlos Pena changed all that, though: Castro led off the top of the sixth with a homer, and three batters later, Pena parked a three-run shot to give Chicago (NL) a lead they would never relinquish. Cubs win, 6-3.
- Houston gave up seven early runs to Texas as the Rangers routed the Astros, 8-3, in Arlington. Astro lefty J.A. Happ didn't have it on this night, as he lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up eight hits, seven runs (five earned), and one walk to push his season ERA to 5.33. Michael Young doubled in two runs in the first, Josh Hamilton tripled in two more in the second, Adrian Beltre went 3-4 with two runs driven in, and Mitch Moreland hit an eighth-inning homer to power the Texas offense.
- St. Louis had the day off.
Your updated standings for June 21:
On tap for today:
- St. Louis takes a break from interleague play to host the Phillies in a matchup of division leaders. Game one starts at 7:15 p.m. CDT and features Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96) and Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56).
- The Crew and Rays are back at it at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight at Miller Park. Zack Greinke (6-2, 5.23) faces Jeremy Hellickson (7-5, 3.09) in game two.
- The Yankees and Reds play game two of their series at 6:10 p.m. CDT at Great American Ballpark, with Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68) taking on Brian Gordon (0-3, 3.38).
- The Pirates and Orioles have a 6:05 p.m. CDT start at PNC Park tonight. Scheduled to start: for the Bucs, James McDonald (5-4, 4.80); for the O's, Jeremy Guthrie (2-8, 3.56).
- The Cubs and White Sox continue their cross-town rivalry at 7:10 p.m. CDT at U.S. Cellular Field. Matt Garza (3-6, 4.14) faces Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.75) in this one.
- The Astros and Rangers take the field at 7:05 p.m. CDT in Arlington. Rookie Jordan Lyles (0-2, 4.30) takes on C.J. Wilson (7-3, 3.03).