Cardinals gain a game on punchless Braves

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The Braves were shutout by the Nationals in losing Sunday for the 10th time in their last 15 games, allowing the Cardinals to make up ground and climb to within one game in the wild card chase.

Atlanta lost this one 3-0 after dropping Saturday’s game 4-1.  Ross Detwiler tossed six scoreless innings and combined with three relievers on a four-hitter for his sixth big-league victory.  The Nationals got their three runs on homers from Wilson Ramos and Mike Morse.  The Braves, meanwhile, received nothing from their top four hitters, as Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla combined to go 0-for-16.

The Cards beat the Cubs for the second straight day, again by one run.  The Cubs went ahead 2-1 on a Starlin Castro single in the seventh, but the Cards responded with solo homers from Yadier Molina in the seventh and Rafael Furcal in the eighth to win.  Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Jason Motte combined to limit the Cubs to five hits.  Randy Wells was the hard-luck loser for Chicago, going the distance in a complete-game loss.

The Cards, now 88-71, will finish the season with a series in Houston.  MLB’s worst team, the Astros are 55-103 for the season, though they are 7-7 in their last 14 games.  The Braves, at 89-70, will finish at home against the struggling Phillies.  Philadelphia did win today to snap an eight-game losing streak, but the club has nothing to play for from here.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.