video thumbnail

STL@CHC: Garza earns the win, strikes out seven

The path into the Cubs' trainer's room and onto their disabled list is well-worn. For a change, someone will actually go in the other direction on Monday. The Reds, too, hope to change directions.

Matt Garza, who had been out with a bone bruise in his right elbow, is set to come off the DL for his first start since May 17 against the Reds, whose freefall reached the .500 level with Sunday's loss to the Dodgers.

Since holding a half-game lead in the National League Central on May 18, the Reds have gone 5-12; on Monday, they turn to Mike Leake in hopes of beginning a turnaround.

The trainer's-room traffic turnaround began on Sunday for the Cubs, who welcomed Aramis Ramirez, sporting seven stitches in his upper lip, back into their lineup. Ramirez's souvenir came from being smoked by a batted ball on Wednesday.

"He's a little beat up but he's ready to play, and that's what I'm happy for," Cubs manager Mike Quade said.

But Ramirez couldn't be upbeat, even after going 2-for-4 and driving in both Chicago runs in the series finale in St. Louis. Not after Albert Pujols' daily walk-off homer sent the Cubs to their sixth consecutive loss.

Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker hopes Leake will be able to exceed the six innings he has averaged for his eight starts, so that a gassed Cincinnati bullpen might be rested.

In the past two games against Los Angeles, Reds relievers had to work 8 1/3 innings. In the wake of Saturday's extra-innings loss, in which the Cincinnati bullpen was jumped for nine runs and 10 hits in four innings, a quartet of relievers pitched heroically to keep the team in Sunday's game.

Chad Reineke, Monday's originally scheduled starter, joined Jeremy Horst, Jose Arredondo and Carlos Fisher to hold the Dodgers to one run across 4 1/3 innings after Travis Wood's brief start.

"Hopefully, we'll get a deep game, like we have the last couple of days [prior to Sunday]," Baker said. "That's what helps, big time."

Leake was originally expected to start on Tuesday, but was moved up -- in part to allow Reineke to help out in the bullpen, but primarily to pave the way for Edinson Volquez's anticipated return from Triple-A.

Cubs: Barney warming bat back up
• Darwin Barney got his average back near .300 (.296) by going 2-for-5 on Sunday, after a 3-for-23 (.130) lull in his previous five games.

• Closer Carlos Marmol was riding a scoreless streak of 25 1/3 innings -- a franchise record -- before giving up Ryan Theriot's game-tying two-out double on a 2-and-2 pitch in the ninth inning on Sunday.

Reds: Volquez getting back on track
• Volquez has allowed three earned runs in two starts and 14 1/3 innings at Triple-A Louisville since being sent down with an ERA of 6.35 after his first 10 starts of the season with the big club.

• Third baseman Scott Rolen is expected to return after taking Sunday off to get over a cold -- and to recover from a 3-for-18 (.167) slump.

Worth noting
Carlos Zambrano did his typical Busch Stadium best to help the Cubs avoid being swept out of St. Louis. By holding the Cardinals to one run across seven innings, Big Z lowered his career ERA in the park to 1.73 for eight starts. Comments