News from around the Central:
- Although it won't help the Cardinals this season, St. Louis nevertheless got a bit of good news on injured ace Adam Wainwright, who will throw a baseball for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery back in February. There haven't been any setbacks in Wainwright's rehab, and Wainwright said he's been pleasantly surprised at how quickly he's recovering from the injury.
- Pittsburgh speedster Jose Tabata had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in the first inning of yesterday's game against the Red Sox after he injured his left leg while beating out an infield hit. It wasn't immediately clear how Tabata got hurt; he appeared to come up lame after stepping on first base and crumpled to the ground after taking a few steps past the bag.
- Right-hander Homer Bailey made his return to the Reds rotation on Sunday (with lackluster results, as you'll read below), and to make room for Bailey on the active roster, Cincinnati optioned reliever Carlos Fisher to AAA Louisville.
- Cryin' Mike Quade turned his glare at one of his own on Sunday after the Cubs dropped their series finale to the Royals, 6-3, at the K: Quade wasn't happy with the lack of hustle shown by precocious shortstop Starlin Castro, who dove for a grounder in the first inning, missed the ball, and then stayed on the ground rather than retrieving the ball in short center field.
- Houston manager Brad Mills is concerned about the nagging injuries that are plaguing outfielder Jason Bourgeois; Bourgeois is now dealing with what's being called a "minor quad injury" after missing time earlier this year with a strained oblique and, later, an injured ankle.
- Milwaukee took a while to get its engine started, but the Crew finally solved the riddle of Carl Pavano in a three-run fifth inning and swept the Twins out of town, taking the series finale 6-2 yesterday afternoon. Our recap is here.
- If you're a fan of another team in the Central -- and if you are, why are you here? -- yesterday was an unhappy day for you, as everybody but the Crew took an L on Sunday. St. Louis got the broom treatment from the Blue Jays, as lefty Ricky Romero threw a complete game shutout and Toronto outclassed the Cards, 5-0. Romero blanked the Redbirds on four hits and two walks while striking out five, and he helped his own cause in the Jays' four-run sixth inning with a two-run single.
- Pittsburgh couldn't finish off the sweep of the BoSox at PNC Park, as Boston scored twice in the top of the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie and grabbed a hard-earned 4-2 victory in the Steel City. The Pirate defense did starter James McDonald no favors, as the Bucs committed four errors and gift-wrapped three runs for the Red Sox, and McDonald departed after throwing 101 pitches in six innings, striking out five and walking two while giving up five hits and two unearned runs. The Sox scored the go-ahead runs in the seventh without the benefit of a hit, stringing together a couple of walks, an error on a sac bunt attempt, an RBI groundout from Dustin Pedroia and a sac fly from Kevin Youkilis to plate two runs.
- Cincinnati found itself facing an early 5-0 hole in Baltimore, but thanks to a homer by Brandon Phillips and bases-loaded walks to Johnny Gomes and Fred Lewis, the Reds battled back to make the score 5-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth. But the O's tacked on insurance runs in the six and seventh, and the only other offense the Reds could muster was a Ramon Hernandez solo homer in the ninth as Baltimore took a 7-5 win on Sunday afternoon. Derrek Lee clubbed a three-run shot to stake the O's to their early advantage and Luke Scott capped the Orioles' scoring in the seventh with a solo shot, his ninth of the year.
- The Cubs fell to 15 games below .500 with a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday afternoon. KC jumped all over Chicago starter Randy Wells, tagging the right-hander for four first inning runs on four singles, a walk, a sac fly, and a double by Alex Gordon. The Cubs came back with three runs (total) in the third and fourth innings (Geovany Soto drove in two runs with a solo homer and a double), but the Roy Boys answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to account for the final margin. For the day, Wells worked six innings and gave up six earned on ten hits and two walks as his ERA creeped over 6.00.
- Houston and Tampa Bay did their best impression of a Texans-Buccaneers game, as the teams combined for 33 hits and 24 runs in a barnburner won by the Rays, 14-10, at Minute Maid Park. The pitching was brutal on both sides, as you'd expect, but special mention needs to be made of Astro relievers Wilton Lopez and Mark Melancon, who combined to "pitch" for 3.2 innings while giving up nine earned runs on ten hits (including two homers) and a walk. For their efforts, each was saddled with a blown save. Evan Longoria was 4-for-6 with a pair of homers, including a three-run shot off Melancon in the ninth, and drove in five runs, and B.J. Upton was 2-for-4 with a homer and four runs batted in.
Your updated standings for June 27:
On tap for tonight:
- The Reds are in Tampa Bay to begin a three-game series with the Rays. Game one is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CDT and features Cincy's Johnny Cueto (5-2, 1.63) and Tampa's Jeremy Hellickson (7-6, 3.09).
- The Cubs host the Rockies at 1:20 p.m. CDT at Wrigley Field in a makeup game from a rainout in April. Jhoulys Chacin (8-4, 2.71) is on the mound for the Rox, while Matt Garza (3-6, 4.11) takes the ball for the Baby Bears.
- Milwaukee, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Houston have the day off.