NL CENTRAL NOTES

Brewers

A 7-2 rout capped a three-game sweep of the Dodgers, giving the Brewers five wins in six games against Los Angeles in 10 days. The series left the teams tied atop the National League with 70 wins apiece; the Brewers won 74 games in 2013.

“This could be a potential matchup in the playoffs,” Jonathan Lucroy said. “I mean, I think that with how good that team is and how good our team is, we could end up meeting down the road if things work out like we want it to, hopefully.”

Cardinals

Veteran infielder Mark Ellis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. The Cards announced the roster move Tuesday, but Ellis’ DL stint was retroactive to Friday. Taking his place on the 25-man roster is infielder Greg Garcia, who was hitting .273 with 40 RBIs in 103 games with Triple-A Memphis. Garcia, who was briefly on the Major League roster early in the season, batted .367 with Memphis this month. Ellis, 37, started for St. Louis at second base last Thursday, but he hasn’t played since. Dating back to July 6, Ellis had made just four starts.

Cubs

In Javier Baez’s first 12 games in the big leagues, he struck out 20 times, had 13 hits, including four home runs, and zero walks. In a 4-1 victory Monday against the Mets, he hit a two-run homer into the second deck in left field. It was his fifth home run, and he is third Cubs player with five homers in his first 14 career games since Kevin Roberson (1993) and Carmelo Martinez (1983) did so.

Pirates

Pedro Alvarez’s throwing issues forced the team to move him from third base to first. Alvarez’s arm has been among the most unreliable in the majors. He leads all players with 25 errors this season, 24 of which are throwing errors. As Alvarez tries to find a place on the field, he is also trying to regain footing in the batter’s box. Due to the throwing issues, Alvarez has been out of the lineup more often lately, cutting down his at-bats. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Monday against the Braves, lowering his average to .230.

Reds

Brayan Pena is proving his worth to a struggling Cincinnati squad behind the plate, at first base filling in for an injured Joey Votto, and in the clubhouse.

“[Keeping a good attitude] is very important because you can never take anything for granted,” Pena said. “You have to go out there and appreciate every moment that you’ve got.”

The 32-year-old was signed by the Braves as a free agent in 2000. And despite never playing in more than 72 games in a season in the big leagues, Pena may have found his niche in Cincinnati, where he’s suited up 89 times so far in 2014.

Compiled by Rachel Lister from wire reports.