News from around the Central:
- Deposed St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin is running out of lives in a hurry: handed a 6-0 lead in yesterday's contest against Baltimore, Franklin fell apart again, giving up a homer to J.J. Hardy, a single to Nick Markakis and a booming double to Adam Jones that ended his night. The Cards are mulling their options with Franklin; word is they're considering placing him on the DL or designating him for assignment.
- The Pirates decided to place injured outfielder Jose Tabata on the 15-day disabled list with the quad strain he suffered in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox. Tabata is expected to be out until after the All-Star Break, but with the debut Alex Pressley made last night -- he homered and drove in three runs -- the Bucs might not need Tabata to rush back.
- Reds reliever Sam LeCure has found a home in his new middle relief role: after faltering in the Reds rotation to start the year, LeCure has put together a microscopic 0.50 ERA in eleven relief appearances covering 18 innings.
- Things got off to an inauspicious start for Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd, who's rehabbing from injuries suffered when he was hit in the face by a pitch in Boston last month: Byrd got drilled in the left shoulder in his second at-bat at AAA Iowa, but he was no worse for wear.
- Oft-injured Astro outfielder Jason Bourgeois has landed on the DL for the second time this season. This time, it's a bum quadriceps that's put Bourgeois on the shelf; he tried to play through the injury but made it worse trying to beat the relay on a double-play ball last night.
- Things got off to a bad start for Zack Greinke when Nyjer Morgan fell while attempting to catch a can-of-corn fly ball in the first inning, leading to two earned-but-not-really runs for the Yankees. Greinke never shook off Morgan's mistake and melted down from there, giving up seven runs in two innings as Milwaukee got dumptrucked by New York (AL), 12-2. Our postmortem is here.
- St. Louis rebounded from its three-game sweep at the hands of the Jays with a 6-2 victory over Baltimore. The Cards used run-scoring singles from Mark Hamilton, Nick Punto, and Ryan Theriot to grab a 3-0 advantage in the second inning, and Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday extended the lead with homers in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Kyle Lohse only lasted five innings and 69 pitches because of a 28-minute rain delay in the sixth inning, but Lance Lynn picked up the slack, striking out five in two innings.
- Pittsburgh's surge continued in the Pirates' 7-6 win over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 6-1 lead after three-and-a-half innings, thanks to a two-run homer from rookie Alex Pressley, a triple from Matt Diaz, and RBIs from Neil Walker and Garrett Jones. The going then got rough for Kevin Correia, who nearly coughed up the lead in his six innings of work (five hits, one walk, four earned). But Joel Hanrahan slammed the door on the Jays in the ninth, working around a two-out single to secure his 23rd save.
- Cincinnati went on a roller coaster ride in the ninth inning of its game vs. Tampa Bay last night: trailing 3-2 in the top of nine, Jay Bruce hammered a long homer to center field off of Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth to even the score. Drew Stubbs singled with two down to try to jump start another rally, but he was thrown out -- sort of; replays showed he was never tagged -- attempting to steal second base. But the Rays walked off winners when Evan Longoria clubbed a leadoff homer off Logan Ondrusek in the bottom of the ninth.
- Chicago dropped both ends of a day-night doubleheader to San Francisco, losing 13-7 in the opener and then falling 6-3 in the nightcap. In game one, Doug Davis came to the end of the road with a disastrous 4.1 inning start that saw him give up 12 hits and three walks while ceding 10 earned runs. In game two, Rodrigo Lopez gave away a 2-1 Cub lead in the fifth inning that saw the Giants plate five runs with two outs. Barry Zito (remember him?) worked seven strong innings, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out three and allowing two earned runs.
- Houston lost its fourth game in a row, falling meekly to the Rangers, 7-3, at Minute Maid Park. C.J. Wilson threw seven solid innings, scattering seven hits and two walks and giving up two earned runs as he ran his record to 8-3 on the year. Astro rookie Jordan Lyles wasn't up to the task on this night, giving up five earned in six innings on ten hits and two walks. Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and Mitch Moreland all homered for Texas, and Kinsler added an RBI triple.
Your updated standings for June 29:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew resumes its series with the Yankees at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight, with Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.95) facing A.J. Burnett (7-6, 4.15).
- St. Louis and Baltimore are back at it at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Scheduled to start: for the Cards, Chris Carpenter (2-7, 4.26); for the Orioles, Chris Jakubauskas (2-0, 5.18).
- The Pirates look to take two in a row from the Jays at 6:07 p.m. tonight at Rogers Centre. Paul Maholm (4-8, 3.21) is on the bump for the Bucs, while Toronto starts Brandon Morrow (3-4, 4.90).
- The Reds conclude their series in Tampa Bay at 11:10 a.m CDT this morning, as Edinson Volquez (4-3, 5.77) takes on James Shields (8-4, 2.29).
- The Cubs and Giants have a 7:05 p.m. CDT start at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will have their hands full with Tim Lincecum (6-6, 3.16), while the Giants will have an easier task facing Ryan Dempster (5-6, 5.31).
- The Battle of Texas resumes at 7:05 p.m. CDT when the Astros and Rangers take the field at Minute Maid Park. Colby Lewis (6-7, 4.44) gets the call for Texas, while Brett Myers (3-6, 4.65) looks to end the Astros four-game skid.