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Around the NL Central: August 1 Edition

Here's what happened at the trading deadline in the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • Milwaukee secured its second consecutive sweep with a closer-than-it-needed-to-be (Kotsay AND Counsell in the starting lineup? You're sure that's not a typo?), 5-4 victory over HoustonEnjoy Noah's recap with your Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  • Chicago snapped its five-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory over St. Louis on Sunday night. Ryan Dempster and Jake Westbrook traded zeroes for the first five innings of this contest, but Westbrook melted down in a big way in the top of the sixth: the right-hander gave up three walks, a single, an RBI double to Starlin Castro and a 2-RBI single to Marlon Byrd as the Cubs exploded for four runs in the frame. Dempster nearly gave it all back in the bottom of the inning, though, as Lance Berkman clubbed a three-run homer -- his 28th of the year -- to pull the Cards within one. But the Cubs got big double plays in the seventh and eighth innings to hold St. Louis at bay, and Alfonso Soriano accounted for the final margin with a two-run blast in the ninth.
  • Pittsburgh was four outs away from salvaging a game in its three-game set with intra-state rival Philadelphia, having rallied from a couple of early deficits to claim a 5-3 lead on Lyle Overbay's two-run homer in the sixth and Garrett Jones' run scoring double in the seventh. But Raul Ibanez knotted the game at 5 in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run blast that scored new Phillie Hunter Pence, and Ibanez then provided the game-winning hit in the bottom of the tenth with an RBI double that again plated Pence, who'd doubled off Tony Watson with one out. Ibanez's RBI made a winner out of Antonio Bastardo, who's mentioned here solely because I wanted to write his name. BASTARDO! 
  • Cincinnati rebounded from its embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Mets with a three-game pasting of the Giants, curbstomping the defending World Series champs 9-0 on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ballpark to complete the sweep. Johnny Cueto hurled a complete game shut-out for the Reds, blanking San Francisco on three hits and a walk while fanning six. The Reds notched three first-inning runs against Barry Zito thanks to RBI singles by Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and a sac fly by Brandon Phillips, and then blew things open with three more runs in the seventh on Votto's three-run tater. For the day, Votto finished 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, and Drew Stubbs was 4-for-5 with a double and three runs scored.

Your updated standings for August 1:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
60 49 -- 7-3 W6
Cardinals 57 51 2.5 6-4 L1
Pirates 54 52 4.5
3-7 L3
Reds 53
55 6.5 5-5 W3
Cubs 43 65 16.5 4-6 W1
Astros 35 73 24.5 2-8 L3

On tap for tonight:

  • The Crew and Cardinals battle for NL Central supremacy beginning at 7:10 p.m. tonight at Miller Park. In game one, Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50) faces Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68).
  • The Pirates get a three-game bye as they welcome the gawd-awful Cubs to town. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. with Paul Maholm (6-10, 3.16) taking on Carlos Zambrano (7-6, 4.59).
  • The Reds look to build on the momentum of their sweep of the Giants, and they've got the right team on the schedule to do it: Cincinnati visits Houston at 7:05 p.m. CDT, when Bronson Arroyo (7-9, 5.58) matches up against Bud Norris (5-7, 3.39).