News from around the Central:
- To fill the roster spot created with the release of former closer Ryan Franklin, St. Louis summoned right-hander Brandon Dickson from AAA Memphis.
- Bucs starter Charlie Morton, who had a poor June after an excellent start to the year, got ten days off to clear his head and fine-tune his mechanics, and he returns to the mound tonight when the Pirates face the Nationals in D.C.
- The Reds' series win in Tampa -- their first series win in about three weeks -- had catcher Ryan Hanigan feeling good about Cincinnati's prospects going forward: Hanigan says that the Reds are poised to make a run before the All-Star Break.
- Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano had to leave yesterday's game against San Francisco after just one inning when his lower back started barking. Zambrano came out for the second inning but departed shortly after attempting to cover first base on a bunt; he was taken to a Chicago hospital for an MRI.
- Astro closer Brandon Lyon underwent surgery on his biceps tendon on Thursday in Pensacola, Florida. Dr. James Andrews performed the opereation, and Lyon is expected to miss the rest of the year while he rehabs from the injury.
Milwaukee sleepwalked through another road loss. What else is new? If you can stomach it, our recap of the carnage is here.
St. Louis has a share of the division lead courtesy of a 9-6 win -- and series sweep -- over the Orioles in Baltimore. The Cards jumped all over Brian Matusz, who surrendered eight earned runs on nine hits and a walk in just 3.1 winnings as his ERA spiked over 8.00 for the year. Lance Berkman had a two-run homer in the third (and he added another in the seventh) and Jon Jay had a three-run shot in the fourth to stake Jaime Garcia to an 8-0 lead. Garcia did his best to gag that advantage away, lasting just 5.1 innings and giving up ten hits (including two homers) and five earned runs, but four Cardinal relievers held the O's to a single run over the final 3.2 innings of the game.
Pittsburgh got the series win in Toronto with a 6-2 triumph at the Rogers Centre. With the game tied at 2 in the top of the sixth, Ronny Cedeno doubled in Lyle Overbay, and Brandon Wood followed with a two-run homer to give the Bucs a lead they wouldn't surrender. Jeff Karstens was excellent again, throwing seven strong innings: five hits, one walk, two punchouts, and two earned runs. Rookie Alex Pressley continued his hot start with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
- I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but Chicago managed to defeat the Giants in a game that featured the following things: (1) the Cubs lost Carlos Zambrano after one inning; (2) the Cubs trailed, 1-0, in the bottom of the ninth with Brian Wilson on the mound; and (3) the Cubs were down, 2-1, in the bottom of the 13th inning with two out and nobody on. Aramis Ramirez homered off of Wilson to knot the game at 1, and Jeff Baker doubled and scored on Darwin Barney's single (and a brutal throw by Cody Ross) in the 13th. Geovany Soto then ended the madness with a three-run homer to give the Cubs an improbable 5-2 win and a series split with San Francisco.
- Houston salvaged a game in the Battle of Texas, thumping the Rangers, 7-0, at Minute Maid Park. The 'Stros blew the game open with a four-run fifth inning thanks to a throwing error by Adrian Beltre, a Jason Michaels double, and a Chris Johnson 2-RBI single. Wandy Rodriguez threw seven great innings, holding Texas to four hits and three walks while striking out four, and three Astro relievers held Texas without a hit a or walk in the game's last two innings.
- Cincinnati had the day off.
Your updated standings for July 1:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew travels to Minneapolis to begin a three-game series with the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight. In game one, Yovani Gallardo (9-4, 3.92) faces Francisco Liriano (4-7, 4.98).
- St. Louis heads to Tropicana Field for a three-game set with the Rays that starts at 6:10 p.m. CDT tonight. The Cards send Jake Westbrook (6-4, 5.32) to the bump to face Wade Davis (7-5, 4.32).
- The Pirates are done with interleague play for the year; the Bucs are in Washington, D.C. to play the Nats at 6:05 p.m. CDT. Tonight's contest features Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.77) and Tom Gorzelanny (2-6, 4.18).
- The Reds welcome the Tribe to Cincinnati at 6:10 p.m. CDT. Bronson Arroyo (7-6, 5.01) matches up with Cleveland's Justin Masterson (5-6, 2.98) in game one of a three-game series.
- The Cubs and White Sox play Round 2 of their crosstown rivalry beginning at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. Randy Wells (1-2, 6.25) needs to absorb some innings for a weary Cubs 'pen, and Edwin Jackson (4-6, 4.13) is on the hill for the Sox.
- Houston hosts Boston in a three-game series that begins at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Tim Wakefield (4-3, 4.54) takes on Bud Norris (4-6, 3.36) in the series opener.