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Around the NL Central: July 21 Edition

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News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • Milwaukee reclaimed sole possession of first place with a reach-for-the-Tums victory over the Diamondbacks, 5-2 in 10 innings. If you're like me and the game finished after your bedtime, check out the recap, yo.
  • Pittsburgh couldn't finish off the sweep of Cincinnati, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Reds at PNC Park. After being shut out in back to back games, it was Cincinnati's turn to get a dominant pitching performance this time: Johnny Cueto and four Reds relievers combined to hold the Bucs to five hits and two walks, and the only offense the Pirates could muster came on an Andrew McCutchen RBI double in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Reds scrapped their way to a couple of runs on sac flies by Joey Votto and Miguel Cairo (respectively), and Edgar Renteria singled in Cueto in the fifth to provide the final margin.
  • St. Louis couldn't take advantage of Pittsburgh's loss, falling in 10 innings to the Mets, 6-5. This game teeter-tottered back and forth throughout: the Cards got on the board in the first on Matt Holliday's sac fly and then notched three runs in the second inning, thanks to RBIs from Jon Jay, Holliday, and Lance Berkman. But the Mets fought back with two runs of their own in the third (RBIs from Josh Thole and pitcher R.A. Dickey) and then knotted the game in the fifth when Carlos Beltran crushed a massive two-run homer off of Kyle McClellan. Each team scored a run in the eighth to keep the game tied, and the Mets walked off winners in the tenth when Angel Pagan homered on the first pitch he saw from Fernando Salas.
  • The Cubs are so, so bad, you guys: Philadelphia scored in each of the game's first four innings (two in the first, three in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth) and clubbed Chicago, 9-1, yesterday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Bad Ryan Dempster showed up in a big way yesterday: the right-hander surrendered seven hits and three walks in just three innings, and six Phillies scored in Dempster's brief stint. Jimmy Rollins was 3-for-5 with two homers, four runs scored and three driven in, and Chase Utley was 2-for-3 with a walk and a two-run double.
  • Hey, look at that: Houston won two games in a row. It took 11 innings, but the 'Stros got a walk-off, 3-2 win over the Nationals when pinch hitter Jason Michaels singled in catcher Humberto Quintero, who went station to station after leading off the inning with a single; Quintero was bunted over to second by Angel Sanchez, then moved to third on Michael Bourn's single to center field. Brett Myers, as per usual, gave up a ton of baserunners (eight hits and two walks in seven innings), but the Nats only managed two runs and couldn't do anything against three Houston relievers.

Your updated standings for July 21:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Brewers 53 46 -- 6-4 W2
Pirates 51 45 0.5 6-4 L1
Cardinals 50 47 2.0 3-7 L3
Reds 48 50 4.5 4-6 W1
Cubs 39 60 14.0 3-7 L2
Astros 33 65 19.5 3-7 W2

On tap for tonight: it's a very light day around the Central:

  • The Crew wraps up its series with the Diamondbacks at 8:40 p.m. CDT tonight, when Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.04) takes on Ian Kennedy (10-3, 3.39).
  • The Cardinals and Mets conclude their series with an early 11:10 a.m. CDT start at Citi Field. Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.26) starts for the Cards, while Jon Niese (9-7, 3.73) takes the ball for New York.
  • Everybody else takes the day off.