Dugout Digest – the NL Central is rolling

The NL Central looked like it was going to be a two horse race this saeson between the Reds and Cardinals. But maybe, just maybe, there's going to be more of a race in the division this season. The Brewers have won seven straight after starting the year 2-8. The Pirates started the year 1-5, and are 9-3 since. And it's not as if either team is wholly beating up on cupcakes like the Rockies, either. Milwaukee has swept both the Giants and (meh) Cubs during their winning streak, while the Pirates have won four straight series against the Diamondbacks, Reds, Cardinals, and Braves. Maybe we wrote them off a little soon.


Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons does a little juggling prior to Atlanta's game in Pittsburgh on Sunday. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 4. Stop the presses, the Rockies have finally lost. A Troy Tulowitzki solo homer in the sixth pushed Colorado's lead to 4-2, and things looked pretty solid for the Rockies. But in the eighth, Cody Ross drove in Paul Goldschmidt with a double against Matt Belisle, cutting the Arizona deficit to one run. In the ninth inning, closer Wilton Lopez struggled. Didi Gregorius led off with a single, and an AJ Pollock double put two one with none out. Alfredo Marte grounded out to plate Gregorius to tie the game, and Gerardo Parra put Arizona in front after a sac fly. JJ Putz shut down the Rockies in the ninth to preserve the victory and push the Diamondbacks to 10-8 on the season.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Barry Zito led the Giants to a 5-0 win over the Padres, allowing five hits in seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out four. Dillon Gee gave the Mets a solid start in their 2-0 win over the Nationals, giving up three hits in 5 2/3 scoreless frames, striking out six with three walks. Roberto Hernandez picked up his first win since 2011 in the Rays 8-1 win over the A's, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, notching seven strikeouts while allowing three walks. Gavin Floyd gave the White Sox a solid start in their 5-3 loss to the Twins, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, striking out six while walking three.

Hitting Lines of the Day: In game two of their doubleheader sweep in Boston, the Royals' Alex Gordon went 3/5 with three runs, a double, and his first homer of the year. The Rangers shelled the Mariners 11-3, but Kyle Seager *was* the Seattle offense, going 3/4 with two RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. On the other hand, Nelson Cruz paced a great Texas offensive attack, gonig 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, and his third homer of the year. Yunel Escobar had his best game as a Ray, going 3/4 with two RBI, a double, and a homer in their win over Oakland. In a losing effort in game two for the Red Sox, Mike Napoli went 3/5 with a double, a homer, and two RBI. 

Other Games: The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 8-4 to salvage the series in Toronto. The Pirates took three out of four from the Braves, beating Atlanta 4-2. The Dodgers ended their six game losing streak by beating the Orioles 7-4. The Reds used an eight run seventh to beat the Marlins 10-6. The Brewers swept the Cubs after a 4-2 win. The Indians edged the Astros 5-4. The Phillies earned a split with the Cardinals, winning 7-3. The Angels walked off on the Tigers 4-3 after a 13th inning Mark Trumbo homer, their first sweep and just second series win of the season.

What You Missed: Rays shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee injured his knee in gruesome fashion. The Dodgers have placed Chad Billingsley on the DL with elbow pain, as their season continues to get off on the wrong foot. Desmond Jennings of the Rays turned an unassisted double play, a pretty rare feat from a center fielder.

Today's Games: CC Sabathia and Matt Moore will duel in Tampa. Shelby Miller starts for the Cardinals in Washington against Dan Haren. Jonathan Pettibone will make his major league debut for the Phillies, taking on AJ Burnett and the Pirates. Justin Masterson will start for the Indians against the White Sox. Mike Minor starts for the Braves in Colorado. Kyle Lohse starts for the Brewers in San Diego. Felix Hernandez will take on the Astros in what could be a record setting performance. Wade Miley and Ryan Vogelsong will duel in San Francisco.

National TV: Yankees-Rays (7:00, ESPN)

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.