Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/20/10

Adam Wainwright won his 19th game for the second consecutive season on Sunday as the Cards took three of four from visiting San Diego.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Adam Wainwright, after reaching 19 wins last year and then being denied his 20th victory, is on the precipice of the milestone again. He reached 19 Sunday and he either will have two or three more starts to get the job done this year.

Manager Tony La Russa conceded that 20 is a magic number. And perhaps that goal can be more easily achieved this year.

On the final weekend last season, Wainwright was ahead of Milwaukee, 6-0, and then left with a 6-2 lead but the bullpen couldn't hold it. La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan had decided Wainwright didn't need to stay in that game any longer, what with the playoffs coming up.

This year, a potential playoff spot may not be in the mix the last week.

"There are certain things that have a lot of meaning," said La Russa. "You hit .300. One hundred RBIs. For a pitcher, 20 wins is a special category.

"It's like you hit .301 or .299? No difference? Big difference," said La Russa. "It's a mark."

Wainwright (19-11), said, "As far as personal goals, 20 would be cool. But I have two starts and 21 would be better.

"Obviously, it's a good milestone to hit as a pitcher," Wainwright said. "But right now we're still battling for this division. Until we're eliminated we're going to be battling.

"We're going to try not to get eliminated."

The magic number for the Cardinals' elimination from the race still is eight, with the Reds losing in Houston.

CARDINALS, 4 PADRES 1: RHP Adam Wainwright had a no-hitter for five innings and a shutout for seven until San Diego got a run in the eighth. LF Matt Holliday knocked in his 99th run and CF Colby Rasmus hit his 23rd homer.

NOTES AND QUOTES

The Cardinals are 18-0 when RHP Adam Wainwright receives four or more runs. Of course, he also has allowed fewer than four earned runs in 25 of his 32 starts.

CF Colby Rasmus has batted .382 with four homers and 10 RBI in the two weeks since a furor was created over his having been asked to be traded in both of his seasons with the club and questions arose over his relationship with manager Tony La Russa. "If anything happens, just let it go by like water off a duck's back," said a more relaxed Rasmus. "It's hard. I just haven't done it for sure, as you can tell. I'm not standing here like I've got it figured out. I'm saying that's what I'm going to try to do."

LF Matt Holliday has surged into the team batting lead at .312 and he is one RBI from 100. He has been a much better clutch hitter in the second half of the season. "I think he's worth the money he's earning," manager Tony La Russa said. Holliday was signed to a seven-year deal for $120 million before the season.

C Matt Pagnozzi, nephew of former Cardinals Gold Glover Tom Pagnozzi, made his second start and caught his first victory. The rookie was 1-for-3 in both starts.

The Cardinals passed the three million mark in attendance for the seventh sraight year.

C Jason LaRue says he will retire after having been kicked in the head by Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto and suffering a concussion. "He's had a very solid major-league career with a lot of highlights," said La Russa. "I think he's being smart taking care of himself. I think his family is happy about that."

By the Numbers:

38 - Multi-homer games for 1B Albert Pujols, breaking Stan Musial's club record by one, through Sunday.

 

Quote to Note:

 

"I'm done. It's a simple decision."

 

- C Jason LaRue, announcing he will retire after suffering a concussion when kicked in the head by Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto in a brawl in August.

 

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) missed his Sept. 18 start. He might return to action during the week of Sept. 20-26.

LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) did not pitch Sept. 7-17. He returned to action Sept. 18.

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. He has announced that he will retire.

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 before season's end, but manager Tony La Russa said that was unlikely.

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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