News and notes from around the Central:
- He's baaaaaaaaaaaack. Reportedly.
- Pittsburgh third baseman Josh Harrison had to exit yesterday's game against the Astros when he became dizzy after taking a blow to the head in a second-inning collision at home plate. Harrison is expected to undergo tests to determine if he sustained a concussion.
- Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen notched the 2000th hit of his career last night with a first-inning single against his former club.
- The Cubs rotation is taking on water once again: Carlos Zambrano has landed on the DL because of lower back pain, and Ryan Dempster was scratched from his start yesterday after he had to be hospitalized over the weekend with illness and an injured back. Casey Coleman was summoned from AAA to start yesterday, and Ramon Ortiz -- yes, that Ramon Ortiz -- gets the call today.
- So this is pretty crazy: injured Astro catcher Humberto Quintero is rehabbing with AAA Oklahoma City. The RedHawks had a series in Memphis over the weekend, and Quintero stayed at a local Doubletree Inn -- until a police officer was shot and killed and the hotel and the Doubletree was shut down so the police could investigate.
- St. Louis claimed sole possession of first place by eeking out a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati at Busch Stadium. Chris Carpenter (8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) and Johnny Cueto (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) traded zeroes for seven innings, but Cueto blinked first when he surrendered a single run in the eighth: Colby Rasmus singled to lead off the inning, got sacrificed to second, and came around to score on a two-out single by Mark Hamilton. Fernando Salas then notched his 15th save with a three-up, three-down ninth, fanning two of the Reds he faced.
- Remember when Milwaukee gagged away a 6-1 on Sunday? Oops: they did it again last night. Here's the recap, if you're so inclined.
- Pittsburgh stayed on Milwaukee's heels with a 5-3 victory over Houston. Alex Presley was 3-for-4 with a triple and a run driven in, Lyle Overbay was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Paul Maholm pitched OK (6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 3 R, 1 ER). But here's what I want to talk about: the Astros were down 3-2 in the sixth inning. Matt Downs led off the sixth with a single and moved up to second when Clint Barmes walked. Brad Mills then had catcher Carlos Corporan sacrifice to move the runners up ... and to bring up Brett Myers, who's hitting a robust .118 on the year. If that wasn't bad enough, Mills then put on the contact play with Myers at the dish, and Downs was -- predictably -- cut down at home when Myers tapped to short. I hate managers.
- Chicago couldn't protect a late 4-3 lead in Washington thanks to some ill-timed bouts of wildness from setup man Kerry Wood and closer Carlos Marmol. Wood was inserted in the bottom of the seventh with two down and a man on second, and he promptly walked Ryan Zimmerman, hit Danny Espinosa with a pitch, and then walked Laynce Nix on four pytches to force in the tying run. Then, with Jayson Werth on second base with one out in the tenth, Cryin' Mike Quade summoned Marmol. Marmol didn't even bother to look at Werth before delivering his first pitch, and Werth responded by swiping third base. Marmol then spiked a slider on a 2-2 pitch, allowing Werth to score the winning run.
Your updated standings for July 5:
On tap for tonight:
- St. Louis and Cincinnati resume their series at Busch Stadium at 6:09 p.m. CDT tonight, when Jaime Garcia (7-3, 3.33) faces Edinson Volquez (5-3, 5.65).
- The Crew and the Snakes take the field at 7:10 p.m. CDT. In game two, Zach Duke (1-3, 5.92) matches up with Randy Wolf (6-5, 3.33).
- The Pirates and Astros are back at it at 6:05 p.m. CDT at PNC Park. The Bucs look to claim second place behind Jeff Karstens (6-4, 2.65), while the Astros counter with Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97).
- The Cubs continue their series in D.C. at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. The Cubs give a spot start to 38-year-old Ramon Ortiz (0-0, ---), while the Nats have Ross Detwiler (0-0, ---), who's also making his season debut, on the mound.