The big news in the NL Central, of course is the trade of Hunter Pence from the Astros to the Phillies. Philadelphia managed to keep Dominic Brown in the deal, but did trade away Jarrad Cosart and Jonathan Singleton--both top 50 prospects--along with Josh Zeid and a PTBNL.
The price for Rafael Furcal might go up a bit as it appears the Cardinals will also be competing for his services. It seems that shortstop might be the focus for St. Louis as the trade deadline nears.
Unfortunately, the Brewers couldn't extend their lead in first as the Cardinals also won, beating the Cubs 9-2. St. Louis had three three-run inings in the fourth, the sixth and the eighth innings while the Cubs scored in the second and eighth. For the Cubs, Marlon Byrd was 2-4 with a run and an RBI as Matt Garza had a disaster start, giving up six runs in 5.2 innings. For the Cardinals, Edwin Jackson had a great first outing, allowing just one run in seven innings. David Freese hit a three run homer and Ryan Theriot (3 RBI, run), Jon Jay, Matt Holliday (2 runs), and Yadier Molina (2 runs, RBI) all picked up a couple of hits. Albert Pujols was 2-5, including his 2000th hit of his career.
The Pirates lost to the Phillies 10-3. Pittsburgh only managed four hits against Philadelphia and Roy Halladay, including two from Xavier Paul. Pedro Ciriaco had a pinch hit double, driving in three runs, and would go on to score. Charlie Morton had a terrible outing, allowing eight runs (six earned) on nine hits and four walks in just four innings. Reliever Jason Grilli allowed two more runs in two innings.
The Reds beat the Giants 4-3 in 13 innings. Cincinnati scored three runs in the first and second innings, then wet eleven innings before finally putting another run on the board. The Reds won on an Edgar Renteria single that scored Jay Bruce, who had walked earlier in the inning. Fred Lewis had the only multi-hit game for Cincinnati as he went 3-4 with a run. Dontrelle Willis gave up just two runs in six innings.
Kyle Lohse (8-7, 3.46) and Rodrigo Lopez (2-2, 3.49) face off as the Cardinals and Cubs do battle.
The Pirates try to stay near the top of the NL Central as they send James McDonald (7-4, 3.95) to face the Phillies and Cliff Lee (9-7, 3.05).
The Reds have Mike Leake (8-6, 4.04) going up against Madison Bumgarner (6-9, 3.56) and the Giants.
The Brewers will see Yovani Gallardo (11-7, 3.89) take the mound versus JA Happ (4-12, 6.12) and the Astros.