Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/25/10

Adam Wainwright reached 20 wins for the first time as the Cardinals defeated the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon.



Adam Wainwright had a 6-1 lead over Milwaukee in the seventh inning on the last Friday of the 2009 season as he sought his 20th victory. The bullpen, notably Kyle McClellan, didn't hold that lead.

Wainwright, again seeking his 20th win, came out after six innings Friday in Chicago with the Cardinals ahead 7-1. This time, the bullpen -- notably McClellan, who worked two spotless innings -- protected that lead and Wainwright attained what will be one of the highlights of a Cardinals season that got away from them in the last six weeks.

Manager Tony La Russa said, "He got what he deserved. The wind was blowing out, what, 20, 30 miles an hour? What a statement (one run, six innings) he made. There isn't anybody in the big leagues who's better than he is. This is a real achievement."

Wainwright, who is 5-0 at Wrigley Field (he is 1-4 against the Cubs in St. Louis), said, "To beat the Cubs for your 20th win is an extra treat. This is something I'll never forget."

Quickly surveying the conditions with the wind blowing out hard, Wainwright adjusted his game plan.

"I knew early on I had to keep the ball on the ground," he said. "I had very good command, for sure. You never know what the wind is going to do."

Wainwright seemed almost as happy that McClellan got to be a part of the win. "He kind of got a chance to wipe the slate clean," Wainwright said. "I know he feels real bad about what happened last year."

Before the season ends, Wainwright will have one more start Thursday against Colorado to make a case for the Cy Young Award he thought he should have won last year.

But the case he wanted to make after Friday's game was the theory advanced by a couple of St. Louis media members, including former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark, a television and radio analyst, that the Cardinals had "quit" down the stretch.

"There's no quitters on this team," Wainwright said firmly.

CARDINALS 7, CUBS 1: Rookie RF Allen Craig's three-run homer in the first inning got RHP Adam Wainwright off on the right foot, and Wainwright reached the 20-victory plateau, which barely eluded him last year. Wainwright held the Cubs to one run over six innings before the bullpen took over.


LHP Jaime Garcia, as expected, was officially shut down for the season because of a tired left arm. Garcia, who worked 163 1/3 innings, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Pitching coach Dave Duncan said, "I think if we were in a position where we had a legitimate chance to win the division, he could pitch. But I think the organization, and rightly so, is concerned about the number of innings he's pitched after not pitching very much last year. Under the circumstances, you really stay on the safe side." Garcia, 24, has not pitched since a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 13. He completes his season at 13-8 with a 2.70 earned run average, which is fifth in the National League.

RHP Jeff Suppan, with LHP Jaime Garcia out for the year, will make another start on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Rookie P.J. Walters is likely to make a start Wednesday against Pittsburgh, giving 20-game winner RHP Adam Wainwright an extra day of rest before he would start against Colorado on Thursday. Suppan has reeled off two consecutive starts of one run over five innings.

RF Allen Craig, told only a couple of hours before the game that he was starting his first game in Wrigley Field, hammered a three-run homer with two out in the first inning. "I definitely wasn't trying to hit it in the air," said Craig, but Craig's high flyball got into the left-field jet stream and the wind carried it into the seats. The homer was the third for Craig, the top power-hitting prospect in the organization. He has struggled in several call-ups this year, mostly because he hasn't played with much regularity. Craig got the call over Nick Stavinoha, who has been having knee issues.

If the Cardinals win one of the next two games, they will win a series from the Cubs for the first time in the last four. The Cubs had beaten their arch-rivals in seven of the teams' previous nine meetings before Friday.

RHP Chris Carpenter, riding a rare three-game losing streak, will seek his 16th win again Saturday. Carpenter has won just one game since Aug. 21.

LF Matt Holliday extended his club-high hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single.

By the Numbers:

39 - Multi-homer games for 1B Albert Pujols, breaking Stan Musial's club record by two.


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.




Medical Watch:

C Yadier Molina (sore right knee) hasn't played since Sept. 21. An MRI on Sept. 22 found inflammation in the knee, and he was shut down for the season.

LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) missed starts Sept. 18 and Sept. 23, and the Cardinals announced on Sept. 24 that he had been shut down for the season.

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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