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Around the NL Central: July 6 Edition

News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • St. Louis celebrated His Holiness' return to the active roster (he didn't actually play, so I can't say "return to the lineup") with an 8-1 demolition of Cincinnati at Busch Stadium. The Cards roughed up Reds started Edinson Volquez, who surrendered seven runs (six earned) in 5.1 innings, with Matt Holliday doing the lion's share of the damage with a solo homer in the first inning and three-run backbreaker in the fifth. Lance Berkman hammered a solo homer of his own in the first, a 452-foot blast that's the longest homer hit in the three-year history of New Busch.
  • Pittsburgh pulled into second place courtesy of Milwaukee's loss (if you're feeling masochistic: here's a recap of the Crew's latest toe-stubbing) and the Bucs' 5-1 win over Houston at PNC Park. The "who put a quarter in this guy?" tour rolled on for Pirate starter Jeff Karstens, who worked seven innings, scattering seven hits and allowing a single run on a homer by Clint Barmes. Meanwhile, the Pirates touched Wandy Rodriguez for five earnies in six innings, and Brandon Wood was the hitting hero: Wood was 2-for-3 on the night with a two-run homer, an RBI single, and walk.
  • Chicago found itself in an early 3-0 hole in Washington thanks to three consecutive singles by the Nats and a throwing error by second baseman Jeff Baker in the bottom of the first inning, but the Cubs held the Nationals scoreless from there, as Ramon Ortiz worked six innings (seven hits, 3BB, seven K, two earned runs) in his return to the Show. Unfortunately for the Northsiders, the only offense the Cubs could muster was a two-run homer from Aramis Ramirez, and Chicago dropped a 3-2 decision to Washington at Nationals Park.

Your updated standings for July 6:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
Cardinals 47 40 -- 6-4 W2
Pirates 45 41 1.5 6-4 W3
Brewers 45 42 2.0 3-7 L3
Reds 43 44 4.0 4-6 L2
Cubs 35 52 12.0 4-6 L2
Astros 29 58 18.0 1-9 L5

On tap for tonight:

  • St. Louis and Cincinnati conclude their series at 7:15 p.m. CDT tonight at Busch Stadium. Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.49) is on the bump for the Reds, while Jake Westbrook (7-4, 4.92) takes the ball for the Redbirds.
  • The Crew turns to Yovani Gallardo (9-5, 3.92) in an effort to avoid the sweep at the hands of Josh Collmenter (4-5, 3.17) and the Diamondbacks.
  • The Pirates and Astros finish their three-game set at 6:05 p.m. CDT at PNC Park. Bud Norris (4-6, 3.51) faces Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.63) in the finale.
  • The Cubs continue their series in D.C. at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Randy Wells (1-3, 6.59) looks to right the ship for the floundering Baby Bears, while former Cub Tom Gorzelanny (2-6, 3.77) gets the call for the Nats.