When Joey Votto had knee surgery, the Cincinnati Reds were facing a turning point in their season. An offense that had been so-so was going to have to get along without its best hitter for about a month.
How have the Reds responded? With one of the best surges in franchise history.
The Reds won 10 in a row before losing, 11-5, to the San Diego Padres on Monday night at Great American Ball Park. It's only the eighth time in club history that they had won 10 straight. The team record is 12 straight wins in 1939 and 1957.
The offense has come around without Votto. Cincinnati is 10-3 without him.
Coach is fired
The Milwaukee Brewers fired bullpen coach Stan Kyles after another meltdown by their relievers.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the change was necessary to improve a bullpen that has recorded the most losses and blown saves in the major leagues.
Kyles had been the bullpen coach since 2009. He will be replaced in the interim by Lee Tunnell, who is in his fourth season with the Brewers as minor-league pitching coordinator.
Brewers' relievers have gone 15-26 with a 4.80 ERA this season. The Washington Nationals took advantage of the Brewers' beleaguered bullpen Sunday in an 11-10 win in 11 innings.
Tests for Thome
Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome is headed back to Baltimore to have tests on his sore neck.
Thome said Monday, before the Orioles played the New York Yankees, that he will have an MRI on Tuesday morning because the spasms in his neck aren't subsiding. He said he is having the scan to make sure there is nothing structurally wrong.
The 41-year-old Thome, who has hit 611 career homers, hasn't played since Friday night. Since joining the Orioles in a July 1 trade with the Phillies, Thome is hitting .261 with two homers and six RBIs in 69 at-bats.
Banished to bullpen
The Miami Marlins have moved Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said lefthander Wade LeBlanc, who has worked only in relief this season, will take Zambrano's spot in the rotation on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves.
LeBlanc is 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA. He was 17-21 with a 4.47 ERA in 52 career starts the last four years with San Diego.
Zambrano is 5-9 with a 4.54 ERA. He gave up five runs, four earned, in five-plus innings of a loss to the Padres on Friday night.
For now, Guillen said he still expects righthander Josh Johnson, who has been mentioned in trade speculation, to start in one game of Friday's doubleheader against the Nationals.
The Rangers have activated first baseman Mitch Moreland from the disabled list and optioned outfielder Leonys Martin to triple-A.
Moreland was in the lineup for Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels. He is hitting .272 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 55 games. He played in five games on rehabilitation stints.
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.