Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. One of the primary responsibilities of a major-league ace is to end losing streaks before they get out of hand, and before the team gets buried in the standings. With that in mind, Jon Lester was exactly what the Cubs signed him to be over the winter, holding the red hot St. Louis Cardinals to four runs (one earned) over seven innings in a Cubs 6-5 victory. The win snapped the Cubs season-long four-game losing streak. Just as importantly, it also snapped the Cardinals eight-game winning streak, allowing the Cubs to stay within 5 1/2 games of the division leaders. Offensively, the Cubs jumped on Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn early, plating two runs in the first on RBI singles from Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro. Anthony Rizzo added a solo home run in the third and a two-run double in the fifth to create some separation against the Cardinals relentless attack. The Cardinals never led, but in four different innings trimmed Chicago’s lead to one run. In the ninth, they put the tying run on third with one out, but Cubs closer Hector Rondon recovered to retire Matt Reynolds and Jhonny Peralta — who earlier launched a 447-foot home run — to end the game.  The two teams will wrap up their very competitive and entertaining four-game series on Thursday. Jake Arrieta will go for the Cubs. The Cardinals are countering with veteran John Lackey.  RANGERS COMPLETE STUNNING SWEEP OF ASTROS Two years ago that headline would have made zero sense to baseball fans. In 2015, it’s the results that make no sense after the Rangers completed a three-game series sweep at Minute Maid Park with a 11-3 victory on Wednesday night .  The Rangers started the series by rallying late to snap Houston’s 10-game winning streak. On Tuesday, they received a dominant performance from former Astro Wandy Rodriguez. Then came Wednesday’s capper, which ran the lopsided series score to 20-5.  [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] These are the same Rangers that started 8-16 and were desperate enough for offense to reacquire Josh Hamilton less than two weeks ago. These are the same Astros that couldn’t lose on a road trip through Seattle, Oakland and San Diego.  Coupled with the news that George Springer suffered a concussion on Tuesday, this is the first real adversity or trouble the Astros have faced this season. The road won’t get any easier, either. They’re about to begin a four-game series in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels, who are coming off consecutive walk-off wins against Seattle. It might be time we learn where the 2015 Astros truly stand.  MARK BUEHRLE EARNS RARE WIN AGAINST YANKEES  How awful has Mark Buehrle’s luck and performance been against the New York Yankees?  This awful.  Mark Buehrle is 1-14 (.067) career vs Yankees, 2nd-worst win pct by any pitcher vs the franchise in the last 100 yrs (min. 15 starts) — Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 6, 2015 Some would look at that and cringe. Others would simply say he’s due. On this occasion, the latter would have been correct as Buehrle held the first-place Yankees’ offense to one run on six hits over five innings in the Blue Jays 5-1 win. Buehrle’s only other victory against New York came back on April 10, 2004, a span of 11 years and one month. In between, Buehrle started against them 17 times, posting an 0-12 record with a 7.27 ERA.  Indeed, he was due, but he owes a lot to Robert Osuna, Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil, who collectively held New York to one hit over four innings of relief. And to Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar and Chris Colabello, who combined for nine hits and five runs scored offensively.  DIAMONDBACKS SWEEP ROCKIES IN DOUBLEHEADER Like many baseball fans, Mother Nature didn’t seem all that interested in watching this week’s Diamondbacks-Rockies series in Denver. Monday and Tuesday’s scheduled games were both postponed due to rain, but she did spare them a long enough window to play two on Wednesday, That turned out to be good news for Diamondbacks and a pretty lousy experience for the Rockies, as Arizona swept the doubleheader with easy 13-7 and 5-1 wins. It was a particularly lousy day for Colorado’s game one starter Tyler Matzek, who lasted just two-plus innings and managed to walk six batters. Ideally, the game one starter eats some innings and conserves the bullpen. Here, Matzek could not hit his target to save his life. Tyler Matzek (COL): 58 pitches, 20 strikes today (34.5%), lowest strike pct in a game since start of 2000 season (min. 50 pitches) — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 6, 2015 Ouch. Mark Trumbo, Aaron Hill and Yasmany Tomas each drove in at least three runs in the opener. In the nightcap, Paul Goldschmidt paced the offense with a solo home run and RBI single. Josh Collmenter and Robbie Ray picked up the wins as Arizona’s starters. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By SnakeBitten on May 7th, 2015
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Brad Johnson runs down the last week in the world of closers and stolen bases.

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Post info: By SnakeBitten on May 6th, 2015
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A look at what’s happening all around the major leagues today: — CLOSING TIME The Royals plan to activate All-Star closer Greg Holland (strained pectoral muscle) before their game against Cleveland. Fellow reliever Kelvin Herrera had his appeal heard Monday by Major League Baseball in an attempt to reduce the length of two separate suspensions – two games for throwing at Oakland’s Brett Lawrie and five for his role in a fight with the White Sox. NO SUPPORT Nationals newcomer Max Scherzer brings a 1.26 ERA into his start against Miami. Marlins starter Tom Koehler blanked the Nats over 7 1-3 innings on April 25.

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The day at the ballpark began for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his players watching the Kentucky Derby live on video screens during batting practice. It ended with them transfixed at their lockers watching the final few rounds of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s victory over Manny Pacquiao for the World Welterweight title. In-between, red-hot rookie Joc Pederson hit a tying solo homer in the seventh and Howie Kendrick singled home the go-ahead run two batters later, rallying the two-time defending NL West champions to a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. ”It’s about winning ballgames,” Pederson said.

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Arizona manager Chip Hale gave his team a pep talk about its recent hitting woes. The scheduled game between the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies on Monday night was postponed because of rain. A day off might just do the Diamondbacks some good after they were swept in Los Angeles by the Dodgers. During the three-game series, the Diamondbacks hit .211 and scored four runs.

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Of all the balls that flew out of Petco Park on Sunday, the one that had the biggest impact was Jedd Gyorko’s 438-foot drive to straightaway center field that helped the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5. The Rockies had just replaced lefty reliever Christian Friedrich with Brooks Brown because Gyorko was only 2 for 39 against righties. It’s always good to get results.” Justin Upton and Derek Norris also hit two-run shots to help the Padres sweep the Rockies. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each homered twice for Colorado.

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Post info: By SnakeBitten on May 4th, 2015
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The sequence of events involving Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal in the 13th inning happened so quickly, the Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t know what hit them. Grandal threw out a runner at the plate after an errant pitch in the top of the inning, then homered leading off the bottom half to give the NL West-leading Dodgers a 1-0 victory Sunday and extend their winning streak to four. Arizona had runners at the corners with two outs in the 13th when J.P. Howell (1-1) bounced a pitch to Cliff Pennington that Grandal had to chase to the right of the plate. Grandal threw to Howell covering home, and the left-hander instinctively reached down behind with his glove to make a blind tag on the sliding Aaron Hill.

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Everyone in Hollywood wants to be a star on some level. Otherwise, how else could you explain the unusual but entertaining — and potentially star-making — moment that played out during Saturday’s Dodgers-Diamondbacks game at Dodger Stadium. When Arizona’s Aaron Hill stepped to the plate in the fourth inning, Dodgers’ fan Bobby Crosby positioned himself in the left field bleachers His mission was two-fold. First and foremost, he wanted to catch a home run ball. But beyond that, he also wanted to catch the moment for his own personal film collection, because simply being on TV catching a home run wouldn’t be enough.  [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Of course, as things turned out, Crosby ended up receiving quite a bit of TV time anyway. When Hill connected, the ball started a direct path right to Crosby’s glove, almost as if the moment had been predestined. Like a perfectly positioned outfielder, he didn’t have to take a step in either direction. All he had to do was catch the baseball and balance his camera at the same time, and he pulled that off perfectly. If you think you’ve heard of Crosby before, you probably have. No, he’s not the former MLB shortstop, but he is the man behind Dodgerfilms. We’ve seen videos of him catching batting practice home runs in the past, and of him capturing other great moments at the ballpark. But this one was clearly pretty special on a personal and maybe even professional level. In fact, he already put together a special video in celebration. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] Pretty cool stuff, but the coolest part might be that he made a believer out of legendary broadcaster Vin Scully. When you can impress a man who’s seen everything during his 65 seasons behind the microphone, you’ve officially made it in Hollywood. BLS H/N: Cut 4     More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Carlos Quentin retired Friday after chronic knee injuries cut short his All-Star career. In a news release, the Seattle Mariners announced Quentin has decided to hang up his spikes. The outfielder and designated hitter was playing at Triple-A Tacoma after signing a minor league contract with the Mariners on April 22. ”As a result, I believe it is the right time for me to walk away and to refocus my energy on the next chapter of my life with my family.” The 32-year-old Quentin was released by the Atlanta Braves last month after they acquired him from San Diego in the six-player trade that sent star closer Craig Kimbrel to the Padres.

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