Johnny Cueto shuts out Giants, takes over as MLB ERA leader

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Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second career shutout Sunday against the Giants and finally accrued enough innings to put himself into the ERA standings, where he now ranks first in the majors at 1.72.

Cueto overtook Jered Weaver for the ERA lead.  Weaver entered the day at 1.79, but he gave up three runs in a loss to the Tigers, leaving him at 1.88 for the season.

Because of a strained triceps muscle suffered in spring training, Cueto didn’t make his season debut until May 8.  With today’s performance, he’s now made 16 starts and he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in any of them.

Cueto, though, probably hasn’t been quite as good as his ERA suggests.  In his July 26 start against the Mets, he allowed six unearned runs in five innings.  For the season, 11 of the 32 runs he’s allowed have been unearned.  Weaver, in comparison, has allowed just one unearned run in 168 innings this season.

To qualify for the ERA title, a pitcher must throw one inning for every game his team has played.  Cueto is now at 109 2/3 innings, while the Reds have played 108 games.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.