News from around the Central:
- St. Louis got some reinforcements for their sagging front lines when the Redbirds activated infielders David Freese (who'd been out since early May with a broken hand) and Nick Punto from the 15-day disabled list.
- It's been a frustrating season in Cincinnati this year -- at least, that's the opinion of Reds skipper Dusty Baker, who said that the team is "treading water" and hasn't "operated on all cylinders yet."
- The Pirates announced that outfielder Jose Tabata, who was carted off the field on Sunday after injuring his left leg, sustained a strained quadriceps. The Bucs didn't place Tabata on the DL immediately; they're covered on extra outfielders now that Alex Pressley has been summoned from AAA for the interleague series with Toronto.
- Cryin' Mike Quade's been dealt a tough hand in his first full-time year at the helm on the North Side, what with the Baby Bears losing ten players to the disabled list already in 2011. Don't believe me? Ask Quade himself, and he'll tell you all about his troubles.
- At SB Nation Houston, David Coleman does his best to break the news gently to Astros fans: yes, Virginia, the Astros -- who now sit 23 games under .500, and 16 games out of first place -- are THAT bad.
Cincinnati ended Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak with a 5-0 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. Brandon Phillips was four-for-five with a double and two runs batted in, and former Ray Jonny Gomes crushed a solo shot in the fourth inning off Jeremy Hellickson. That was all the support right-hander Mike Leake needed; Leake threw six strong innings, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out three, and Sam LeCure and Nick Masset held the Rays down from there.
- Chicago took advantage of some favorable weather conditions at Wrigley Field, as Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez each homered twice en route to a 7-3 win over the Rockies. Colorado claimed an early 1-0 lead after the top of the first, but the Cubs took the lead away with Ramirez's first homer, a two-run shot off of Jhoulys Chacin, and never looked back, plating two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to secure the victory. Matt Garza worked 7.1 innings, giving up five hits and three runs while striking out six.
- Everybody else -- Milwaukee, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Houston -- had the day off.
Your updated standings for June 28:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew is in New York to battle the hated Yankees, starting at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Game one features Zack Greinke (7-2, 4.77) facing NY's Freddy Garcia (6-6, 3.30).
- St. Louis travels to Baltimore for a three-game series with the O's that kicks off at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Scheduled to start: for the Cards, Kyle Lohse (7-4, 2.91); for the Orioles, Zach Britton (6-5, 3.19).
- The Pirates head north of the border for a three-game set with the Blue Jays that starts at 6:07 p.m. CDT (goofy Canadians) tonight. Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia (9-6, 3.65) faces JoJo Reyes (3-6, 4.34) in the opener.
- The Reds continue their series in Tampa Bay at 6:10 p.m CDT tonight, as Johnny Cueto (5-2, 1.63) tangles with David Price (8-6, 3.51).
- The Cubs host the Giants in a day-night twin bill. Game one goes at 1:20 p.m. CDT, with Doug Davis (1-6, 5.01) facing Ryan Vogelsong (5-1, 1.86). Game two begins at 7:05 p.m. CDT as Barry Zito (0-1, 6.23) takes on Rodrigo Lopez (0-1, 6.59).
- Houston hosts the Rangers in Round Two of the Texas Death Match, which starts at 7:05 p.m. CDT. C.J. Wilson (7-3, 3.17) goes for the Rangers, while Jordan Lyles (0-2, 4.20) takes the ball for the Astros.