Six box score lines belonging to young starter pitchers in Thursday's National League games:

7 IP, 6H, 1 ER
8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER
8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER
6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER
5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER
6 IP, 10 H, 11 ER

The first four lines belong, respectively, to Mike Pelfrey (Mets), Chad Billingsley (Dodgers), Cole Hamels (Phillies), and Manny Parra (Brewers).

The bottom two lines, the mediocre one and the ghastly one, belong to Sean Gallagher of the Cubs and Mitchell Boggs of the Cardinals.

The Mets, Dodgers, and Phillies were all winners yesterday. But despite Parra's strong effort, the Brewers lost when their bullpen allowed Arizona to rally from a 5-0 ninth-inning deficit and score a miraculous 6-5 victory.

Gallagher, who survived a terrible second inning at San Francisco, to post a respectable start against the Giants' outstanding young pitcher, Tim Lincecum, was also a loser.

Finally, Boggs, the owner of that 11-earned run start, was on the wrong side of the 11-0 beating that the Mets and Pelfrey doled out to St. Louis. While it might seem cruel and unusual for Tony LaRussa to have left Boggs in for six innings of abuse, the manager actually had little choice. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"I would rather save him the beating when it's not his night," La Russa said, "but I was much more concerned about the effect on the rest of our pitching staff trying to finish that game."

The Cardinals' bullpen has had plenty of work lately, with three of the previous four St. Louis starters failing to last past the fifth inning and the Cubs are coming to town tonight.

"It was good for me to stay out there and take my lumps and get better," Boggs said. "It's a huge series starting (tonight). The last thing I want to do is come out in the third inning. Then our bullpen has to eat up six innings. That's a killer.

Carlos Zambrano (8-3, 3.13) returns from the Disabled List to meet Braden Looper (9-5, 4.26) in the first of three between the Cubs and St.Louis at 7:15 Friday night. Cubs lead the NL Central by 2 1/2.


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