Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/18/10

The Cardinals rediscovered their offense for one night and seem to be playing spoilers with San Diego. Yadier Molina starred.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Former Cardinals star Jack Clark, who has been doing some post-game television commentary, had some radio remarks that caused quite a stir on Thursday. Clark, appearing on a local FM show, called the Cardinals "quitters."

There likely is no correlation but since Clark unloaded on the club, the Cardinals have outscored the contending San Diego Padres 18-4 over two nights, including a 14-4 beat down on Friday.

And there is a heartbeat. The Cardinals are six games behind the National League Central Division-leading Cincinnati Reds with 16 games remaining.

Catcher Yadier Molina, who has raised his average 42 points since the All-Star break, had a career-high-tying four hits and a career-high five runs batted in as he extended his single-season high in RBI to 62.

"It was a very timely outbreak," said manager Tony La Russa. "He had men in scoring position and had some big hits with men in scoring position."

The Cardinals, who have lost to a host of relative non-entities this year, knocked around San Diego ace Mat Latos to the tune of nine hits and eight runs in 1 1/3 innings.

"He can make you look silly and embarrass you," said La Russa. "It happens to our great pitchers. It happens to everybody."

The Cardinals' 19 hits were a season high, as were the 14 runs. And their clutch hitting also was at its best. The Cardinals were 10 for 21 with runners in scoring position.

CARDINALS 14, PADRES 4: The Cardinals beat the Padres for the 11th straight time at Busch Stadium since 2007. This ties the longest such streak in the majors. RHP Kyle Lohse allowed three runs in five innings but gained his second straight victory, the first time he had done that since his first two starts last year.

NOTES AND QUOTES

Manager Tony La Russa said former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark, who had called the current Cardinals club "quitters," among other things as he was interviewed on radio, should have chosen his words more carefully: "I think it's a real personal (criticism). That's why I'm saying something about it. It's a very offensive quote to make. … You especially know that's a much bigger cut than to say you're a bad pitcher or a bad player or manager or coach—because then you're just not good enough. But when you start getting at the integrity of the competition, that's (disappointing). This is America. You can have your opinion. Have at it."

RHP Ryan Franklin said a recent talk with Cardinals Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter has forced him to rethink his plans about retiring after the 2011 season, when Franklin's contract runs out. Franklin met with Sutter at the latter's Atlanta home, and Sutter told Franklin not to quit when he still was good as he was.

C Yadier Molina, besides getting four hits and five runs batted in Friday, threw out his 27th runner of the season. His percentage of throwing out runners is 43.6 percent. "The strength and accuracy of his throws is off the charts," said La Russa.

The Cardinals are 30-20 against the top five clubs in the league. That means they are 46-50 against everybody else, including 22-29 against the rest of the National League Central Division other than Cincinnati.

"No excuses," said La Russa. "We keep turning the page. That's one of the reasons why I like this club, and I hope our fans respect that."

LF Matt Holliday has hit safely in nine straight games at 15 for 34 and his three runs batted in gave him 98 for the season.

PH Nick Stavinoha's 14th pinch hit, a single, left him one behind second-place Delwyn Young of Pittsburgh and five behind leader Joe Inglett of Milwaukee.

Defending Pacific Coast League champion Memphis was ousted in three straight games by Tacoma in this year's PCL final. Tacoma scored four in the 11th for a 10-6 win.

By the Numbers:

.300-30-100 - 1B Albert Pujols has only to maintain his average above .300—he has 10 or so points to spare—to achieve a record 10th straight season from the start of a career in which he has hit at least .300 with 30 or more homers and 100 RBI.

 

Quote to Note:

 

"The highs are enjoyable but you can't enjoy them for long. The disappointments are painful and you carry them for much longer."

 

- Tony La Russa, on managing.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

RHP Chris Carpenter (dehydration/right hamstring cramp) left his Sept. 15 start. He is expected to be ready for his Sept. 20 start.

LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) is expected to skip at least one start in mid-September.

LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) did not pitch Sept. 7-16. He threw a bullpen session Sept. 13, and he is day-to-day.

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 was throwing in early September, hoping to get in a game or two, but manager Tony La Russa said it would take "a major green light" for that to happen.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery in August 2010, left ankle surgery in September 2010) 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. He underwent surgery on the left ankle a month later, but he expects to be ready for spring training.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. 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 that 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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