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Around the NL Central: End of '11 Edition

News and notes from around the Central:

Yesterday's action:

  • Carlos Gomez's three-run homer backed a strong outing on short rest for Zack Greinke as Milwaukee waltzed to home-field advantage in the NLDS with a 7-3 victory over Pittsburgh. Our recap is here.
  • St. Louis secured its spot in the post-season with an 8-0 annihilation of Houston at Minute Maid Park. Chris Carpenter was at his best (though he probably didn't need to be; these are the Astros, after all) when his team needed it most, hurling a complete-game two-hitter in 106 pitches while striking out 11. Meanwhile, the Cardinal offense put this one out of reach early, plating five runs in the first inning against Brett Myers -- Al Pujols RBI single, Lance Berkman RBI single, David Freese RBI double, Skip Schumaker RBI single, and Nick Punto RBI single -- to turn the game into a rout right at the outset.
  • The Reds had their bags packed and ready before they ever got to Citi Field, as Cincinnati went meekly into the offseason, getting blanked, 3-0, at New York. Miguel Batista threw a complete-game shutout on 123 pitches, holding the punchless Reds offense to two hits (a double by Chris Heisey and a single by Edgar Renteria) and two walks while fanning five. The Mets offense wasn't great by any means, either, but New York scored a run in the fourth on Nick Evans' single and two in the sixth on Mike Baxter's first homer of the year to make a loser out of Edinson Volquez, who finished 5-7 with a 5.71 ERA in his abbreviated 2011 season.
  • The Cubs also seemed to be in a hurry to start their (respective) vacations, as Chicago got throttled by the Padres, 9-2, at Petco Park. The Padres used a pair of home runs to power their offense: Nick Hundley clubbed a three-run shot in the third to give the Pads a 4-0 lead, and Will Venable crushed a grand slam in the sixth inning to put San Diego up seven. Ryan Dempster, who might've been making his last start for the Cubs, was responsible for all that damage, and his final line was downright nasty: 5.2 innings pitched, eight hits, four walks, and nine earned runs. For the year, Dempster rebounded from his nightmarish April to finish 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA.

Your final NL Central standings for 2011:

W L GB Last 10 Streak
96 66 -- 7-3 W2
Cardinals 90 72 6.0 7-3 W2
Reds 79
83 17.0
5-5 L1
Pirates 72
90 24.0 4-6 L2
Cubs 71 91 25.0 4-6 L1
Astros 56 106 40.0 5-5 L2