Cincy leaves Cardinals red-faced
If there was any question as to whom would take advantage of Albert Pujols' absence, the Cincinnati Reds answered it. And they did so rather emphatically, sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis to move into a tie for first place in the NL Central.
The Reds dominated the last two games of the series, leaving the Cardinals embarrassed and (pardon the pun) red-faced. They'll head out on the road to try to regroup in matchups against the Brewers and Pirates; they have to be happy they don't see the Reds again until August.
|INSIDE THE SERIES: REDS SWEEP CARDINALS, 3-0|
• Reds outscored Cardinals 14-0 over a 15-inning span.
• Reds cleanup hitters went 6-for-9 with eight RBI in last two games.
• Cards allowed 22 runs, most in any three-game series this season.
• Reds have six wins vs. St. Louis, more than they had in '04 or '05.
• Dodgers closer Eric Gagne will be shut down for a few days because of stiffness in his surgically repaired pitching elbow. "I had an MRI [Wednesday] and everything looked good, but the nerve's inflamed a little bit," Gagne said.
• The Cardinals put struggling closer Jason Isringhausen, who has blown two of his last three save opportunities, on the do-not-pitch list for the second straight day.
|FORWARD THINKING: THURSDAY|
• Blue Jays at Orioles, 7:05 ET: Roy Halladay (7-1, 2.81) has gone nine consecutive starts without a loss. Young left-hander Adam Loewen (0-0, 7.45) takes the mound for Baltimore.
• Mets at Diamondbacks, 9:40 ET: Orlando Hernandez (3-5, 6.19), making his third start for the Mets, faces his former teammates for the first time. Right-handers are batting .306 and slugging .504 against Claudio Vargas (6-2, 5.20), who has allowed 62 hits in 53.2 innings.
|PHOTO OF THE DAY|
Braves RF Jeff Francoeur makes a diving grab in the eighth inning against the Nationals.
|STAT OF THE DAY: ULTIMATE SACRIFICE|
|The Rockies turned the flyout into a weapon. Colorado tied a major-league record with five sacrifice flies in their 16-9 win over the Pirates, matching the mark for a nine-inning game set by Seattle against Oakland on Aug. 7, 1988.|
|Rookie Jered Weaver allowed two runs and four hits in six innings in the Angels' 6-2 victory over the Devil Rays, remaining unbeaten in his first three big-league starts. He struck out four and walked none.|
|The Royals, leading 2-0, needed just three outs to earn their 15th win, but the bullpen couldn't slam the door on the Rangers. Relievers Ambiorix Burgos and Elmer Dessens gave up four runs, and the Royals lost their 43rd game.|
|Pirates lefty Oliver Perez had the worst outing of his career, allowing nine earned runs and five hits with four walks in two innings.|
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- Cards land Lackey, send Craig to Red Sox
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