News from around the Central:
- When the Cardinals and Royals resume their I-70 interleague rivalry on June 17, the teams will participate in a "Teams Unite for Joplin" event that will raise money for the Missouri town leveled by a tornado in May.
- There are a bunch of notes on rehab assignments around the Division today: injured Reds starter Homer Bailey, who's been out for the last week and a half with a shoulder strain, is being sent to Lehigh Valley for a rehab start on Saturday.
- The news isn't good for injured Pirate third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who suffered a setback with his quadriceps injury at extended spring training and will have to be shut down again.
- The Cubs have dispatched Reed Johnson (back) and Jeff Baker (groin strain) to AAA Iowa to begin rehab assignments, and injured outfielder Alfonso Soriano is expected to join them in the next few days as he makes his way back from a strained quad.
- Houston activated closer Brandon Lyon (partial tear of rotator cuff) from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Jose Valdez to AAA Oklahoma City to clear a roster spot for Lyon. 'Stros skipper Brad Mills says Lyon will get his closing job back, but he'll be eased into the role.
- Lance Berkman ended Bud Norris' no-hit bid in the top of the seventh with a two-out, solo homer, but that was all the offense St. Louis could muster as Norris led Houston to a 4-1 victory last night. When all was said and done, Norris went eight innings, giving up the one hit (and one run) while striking out two and walking five. Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, and Jason Michaels each drove in a run for the Astros, who chased Jaime Garcia from the game after five innings (seven hits, three runs, two walks).
- Milwaukee continued its Cardiac Crew routine, coming back from a four-run deficit in the eighth inning to defeat New York, 7-6. Our recap is here.
- Chicago snapped its eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over Cincinnati in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ballpark. Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth (Pena's was a two-run shot) to give Ryan Dempster all the support he needed; the Cub right-hander worked six innings, striking out eight and giving up just one run as his ERA dropped below six on the year (5.96).
- Your eyes don't deceive you: it is June, and the Pirates are back to .500, as Pittsburgh scratched and clawed its way to a 3-2, 12-inning victory over Arizona on Wednesday night. Andrew McCutchen wasn't going to be denied last night: after the D-backs scored a run in the top of the 10th to break a 1-1 tie, McCutchen hit a ground rule double in the bottom of the inning and scored the tying run on a Neil Walker single. McCutchen then won the game in the bottom of the 12th with his tenth homer of the year.
Your updated standings for June 9:
On tap for today:
- St. Louis and Houston wrap up their series at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Minute Maid Park. J.A. Happ (3-7, 4.65) gets the ball for the Astros, while Lance Lynn (0-1, 8.44) makes his second start for the Cards.
- The Reds head west to start a series with the Giants in San Francisco. Game one kicks off at 9:15 p.m. CDT and features Cincy's Johnny Cueto (2-2, 2.27) and Frisco's Madison Bumgarner (2-7, 3.42).
- The Crew and Mets finish their series at 7:10 p.m. at Miller Park, with Yovani Gallardo (8-2, 3.72) facing New York's Jon Niese (4-5, 3.75).
- The Cubs continue their road trip at Citizens Bank Park with a 6:05 p.m. CDT game against the Phillies. Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74) starts for the Baby Bears, while Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.78) starts for the Phils.
- The Pirates and D-backs have a 6:05 p.m. CDT start at PNC Park tonight. Jeff Karstens (3-4, 3.30) is on the bump for the Bucs, and he'll face Josh Collmenter (4-1, 1.25).