Recapping Wednesday's early games:
Cardinals 6, Reds 1
The Cardinals get their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since 2005. Colby Rasmus hit his first career grand slam (he had been 2-13 in his career with the bases loaded). St. Louis hit two slams in the series and has hit this season at Great American Ballpark. Adam Wainwright wins his 17th game, allowing only four base runners (two reached on errors) while improving to 9-0 in day games. Cincinnati has lost three straight for the first time since the All-Star Break and is swept at home for the first time this season.
From the Elias Sports Bureau: Rasmus turned 24 on Wednesday, becoming the sixth player in the last five seasons to hit a grand slam on his birthday.
• The Reds were 0-9 against Wainwright's curveball with four strikeouts, and 0-5 against his slider. In Wainwright's 17 wins this season, opponents are hitting .133 (19-143) with 59 strikeouts (3.5/game) against his curve and .143 (10-70) with 16 K (0.94/game) against his slider.
• Wainwright retired all 13 hitters in at-bats ending when he was ahead in the count -- the fourth start this season he hasn't allowed a hit when ahead in the count.
Braves 8, Astros 2
Atlanta scored six runs in the top of the 10th inning, the most runs scored in an extra inning this season. In the 10th, Brian McCann hit the Braves major-league leading third pinch-hit grand slam this season (Brooks Conrad has the other two). The last team to hit three pinch-hit grand slams in a season was the 1982 Orioles (Benny Ayala, Dan Ford, Terry Crowley).
Looking ahead to tonight's games:
• Cliff Lee starts tonight for the Rangers against the Yankees. Lee -- who was 2-0 against the Yankees in last year's World Series -- has pitched at least 8 innings in all six of his starts with Texas, although he has not received much in the way of run support. The Rangers are just 3-3 in Lee's six starts and have scored three runs or fewer in five of his six outings.
• Brad Bergesen is on the mound tonight for the O's. Although he's winless in his last 12 starts (hasn't won since May 12), Bergesen has pitched well in his last two outings. The righty has thrown 14 innings (7 in each start), allowed 10 hits, 3 earned runs and walked just two batters.
• Clay Buchholz goes for a team-leading 13th win tonight in Toronto. After a rough outing in his first start off the DL on July 21, Buchholz is 2-0, 2.02 ERA in his last three starts. What's more, he's gone at least 7 innings in each of those starts. The Red Sox will face Shaun Marcum, who leads the team in wins (10) and ERA (3.44). He's fared well in his career against Boston (5-2, 2.91 ERA).
• The Dodgers Chad Billingsley has not allowed a home run in more than two months. Since allowing 3 HR to the Diamondbacks on May 31, Billingsley has gone 68.1 innings since allowing a HR -- the second longest active streak in MLB behind the Twins Francisco Liriano (89.2 IP since allowing a HR).
• Phillie fans will get their first look at Roy Oswalt. (Both of his starts in a Phillies uniform came on the road.) They can only hope he has as much success at Citizens Bank Park with the Phillies as he did with the Astros. In four career starts at Citizens Bank, Oswalt is 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA and has allowed just one home run in 27.2 innings.
• The Cubs Tom Gorzelanny is 3-0 in his career against the Giants, and 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA (14 IP, ER) in two starts at AT&T Park.