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Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 07/25/2011

Leading off: Chicago White Sox try to close gap against Detroit Tigers

Game of the day: Detroit at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m. The White Sox won both their games against the Indians over the weekend, and they enter this three-game series 4 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central. Chicago still has nine games left against the Tigers this season, but with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching on Sunday, this series could largely determine the direction of the rest of their campaign. Ace left-hander Mark Buehrle (7-5) will start the opener for Chicago on Monday, aiming for a 15th straight start in which he allows three earned runs or fewer. Rookie Duane Below (0-0) will make his second career start for Detroit after he took a no-decision his first time out Wednesday against Oakland.

Other game to watch: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. Both of these second-place clubs need to gain some momentum to put pressure on the teams they are chasing, and the series opener on Monday features a pitching matchup of talented, if inconsistent, veterans. Angels right-hander Dan Haren (10-6) has seen his ERA rise from 2.61 to 3.10 over his last two rocky starts, but Los Angeles has won five of the last six games he has pitched. Cleveland right-hander Fausto Carmona (5-10) has struggled to a 5.63 ERA this season, but Carmona has a 1.79 ERA in nine career appearances against the Angels.

Games you should have seen:

Pittsburgh 4, St. Louis 3 (10 innings) . Chase d’Arnaud hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning to help the Pirates avoid a three-game sweep against the Cardinals. d’Arnaud’s fly to center field was not particularly deep, but Xavier Paul scored easily when Colby Rasmus’s throw came in up the third base line. Earlier, Rasmus had given St. Louis a 3-2 lead with a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning, but Pittsburgh tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Steve Pearce grounded into a run-scoring double play. After Milwaukee lost later in the day, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Milwaukee ended Sunday in a virtual three-way tie atop the National League Central.

Chicago Cubs 5, Houston 4 (10 innings) . The teams with the two worst records in the National League played perhaps the most exciting game of the day. Marlon Byrd hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the 10th inning and Jeff Baker knocked him in with an RBI single four batters later as the Cubs completed a three-game sweep of the Astros. Chicago led 3-1 early, but Carlos Lee’s two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning gave Houston a 4-3 lead. Alfonso Soriano then hit an RBI single to tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the eighth. Houston loaded the bases in the ninth but could not score, and eventually lost for the 23rd time in its last 29 games.

Stat you should know: 10. Consecutive wins by the Phillies over the Padres after Philadelphia beat San Diego 5-3 on Sunday, good for the longest current streak for one team against another. The Phillies have outscored San Diego 28-13 in seven games this season, and will play the Padres for the final time this year on Monday afternoon. Philadelphia also had an 11-game winning streak against the Padres from 2004 to 2006.

Star of the day: Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton went 4 for 4 with a double, triple, three RBI and two runs scored Sunday in Arizona’s 7-0 win over the Rockies. Upton is 14 for 23 over his past six games after he went 0 for 19 in the five games before that.

Chatter: “I had no idea that it had happened and [catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia] was walking toward me. I’m like, ‘what’s going on.’ He said, ‘Congratulations on 2,000 strikeouts.’ It was a very cool ovation.” – Red Sox right-hander Tim Wakefield, who struck out the 2000th batter of his Red Sox career Sunday when he K’d Mariners left-fielder Mike Carp in the sixth inning of Boston’s 12-8 win.Wakefield also had 110 strikeouts with the Pirates.

By Greg Schimmel  |  07:15 AM ET, 07/25/2011

 
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