Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/11/10

Co-ace Chris Carpenter yielded six runs as the Cardinals lost in Atlanta 8-6 on Friday night.



It is rare when right-hander Chris Carpenter is given a 4-1 lead and he can't hold it. Rarer still is the game in which Carpenter drives in a run with a single and another with the second homer of his career.

Carpenter couldn't get the ball down enough in a six-run Atlanta sixth inning Friday night. He was victimized by a whiff by right fielder Jon Jay near the wall on what would have been a sacrifice fly anyway by Braves catcher Brian McCann. But the fact remains that Carpenter also gave up five hits in the inning, one of them in the infield and another that probably should have been fielded by third baseman Pedro Feliz, after he had allowed just three hits in the first five innings, throwing only 51 pitches.

The six earned runs were the second most Carpenter (15-6) has allowed this season. He was tagged for seven earned runs in three innings against Milwaukee on July 3.

"A lot happened there in about 10, 15 minutes," Carpenter said of Friday's loss. "My arm felt good; my stuff was good. That's a game we should win. I didn't pitch well enough.

"That one inning cost me."

Manager Tony La Russa said that inning shouldn't have been so productive. "They should have marked in that inning, but it shouldn't have been a six-spot," said La Russa. "It should have been three, maybe four."

La Russa called rookie Jay an "excellent outfielder. He makes that play. But that's part of baseball. Carp wasn't perfect. Jay's not perfect."

BRAVES 8, CARDINALS 6: The Cardinals lost to Atlanta for the first time in six meetings and, more significantly, RHP Chris Carpenter wasn't able to hold a three-run lead (he had provided two runs himself). Carpenter gave up six earned runs two days after LHP Jaime Garcia allowed seven in a game at Milwaukee. LF Matt Holliday drove in three runs, two with his 26th homer.


Though the offense has dropped off since the trade of RF Ryan Ludwick to San Diego, manager Tony La Russa and general manager John Mozeliak continue to defend it. In a three-way deal also involving Cleveland, the Cardinals obtained RHP Jake Westbrook. "If it came down to one or the other and you could play the rest of the year with Ludwick and without the starting pitcher, we didn't think that gave us the best chance to win." Mozeliak said rookies Jon Jay and Allen Craig had done all right as Ludwick's replacements in right field. "It's not like right field's been a problem," said Mozeliak. "Hindsight begins when (third baseman) David Freese goes down with a season-ending injury four days after we make that deal," Mozeliak said. "I don't think anyone anticipates something like that happening."

RHP Chris Carpenter was an .098 hitter before he singled in a run in the second and hit an opposite-field homer in the fourth. His first homer had been a grand slam last October in Cincinnati.

Manager Tony La Russa continues to sit left-handed-hitting 2B Skip Schumaker against a left-handed starter. But the reserves continue to do little. Rookie Tyler Greene, playing second base, was hitless in five at-bats Friday and showed little patience at bat.

LF Matt Holliday is finishing strong. He already has knocked in 10 runs this month and has 91 for the season.

RHP Jake Westbrook, who has gone at least six innings in each of his first seven starts for the Cardinals, will make another effort for his second win on Saturday. Then, on Sunday night, RHP Kyle Lohse, who has just two wins, tries for better results.

By the Numbers:

12-6 - The Cardinals' final record against the division-leading Reds. St. Louis is 22-26 against the rest of the NL Central.


Quote to Note:

"At less than 100 percent, he's still a great player."

- Manager Tony La Russa, saying that 1B Albert Pujols isn't at top form physically in the midst of a recent swoon.




Medical Watch:

LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) did not pitch Sept. 7-9. He might be able to return during the week of Sept. 13-19.

C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He won't need surgery, but he is out for the season.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.

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