Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/04/11

The St. Louis Cardinals suffered their third defeat in four games in their home series opener with Pittsburgh Monday night. Kyle Lohse took the loss, but the offense sputtered again.



   The Cardinals' offense is off to a slow start.


   St. Louis scored three runs or fewer for the fourth consecutive game Monday. The Cardinals couldn't put the hammer down on Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton, who was 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA last year.


   In six innings against Morton, the Cardinals drew five walks and had just three hits but scored only once. They shoved across two runs against the Pittsburgh bullpen in the eighth inning but fell short for the third time in four games, 4-3.


   The smallest crowd in the six-season history of new Busch Stadium still was a respectable announced attendance of 32,007, although there were only about 21,000 people actually in the park.


   For four games, one of which they won, the Cardinals have tallied 11 runs. But shortstop Ryan Theriot said, "We've got at least 158 games left."


   The Cardinals were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position Monday, overriding a night in which the St. Louis infield, at all positions, played stellar defense.


   The only hit with men in scoring position came off the bat of Lance Berkman, who knocked in his first run as a Cardinal with a single in the eighth. But David Freese and Yadier Molina both struck out with the tying run at second.


   Freese had a particularly rough night, going 0-for-4, striking out twice, grounding into a double play and getting robbed of a hit on a grounder up the middle.

Link to boxscore

Next game: Tue., Apr. 5 vs. PIRATES: Kyle McClellan (1-4, 2.27) vs. James McDonald (4-5, 3.52) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network)




   --RHP Kyle Lohse pitched scoreless ball through five innings but gave up a two-run double to Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker and a two-run homer to CF Andrew McCutchen in the sixth. "I thought he pitched really well," manager Tony La Russa said. "Just that one inning, he got a couple balls that missed his location, and they didn't miss them. Four runs just like that."


   --1B Albert Pujols had his third hitless game out of four and is 2-for-16 (.125) after grounding to third in each of his three official at-bats Monday. This comes after Pujols said he was "right where I need to be," when spring training ended.


   --LHP Brian Tallet has been a bright spot in the bullpen early in the season. He worked 1 1/3 perfect innings Monday, running his total to 2 1/3 perfect innings over two appearances. Tallet, who had a bad year in Toronto last year, recorded back-to-back scoreless appearances for the first time in 18 appearances dating to July.


   --LF Matt Holliday, speaking for the first time Monday afternoon about the appendectomy he had last Friday, said he felt significantly better and that he didn't want to go on the disabled list. He said he'd be able to contribute sooner than 15 days. Holliday admitted he hadn't been allowed by the medical staff to do any conditioning yet because he still had stitches to cover three incisions.


   --RHP Kyle McClellan will make his first big-league start against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night after 202 relief appearances over his first three seasons in the majors. McClellan hasn't made a start since 2007 at Class A Palm Beach.


   BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- OF Allen Craig's stolen base total for his two-season career after he swiped second in the eighth inning.


   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I know the situation when I come into the game. I know there's going to be nobody on and nobody out in the first inning."  -- RHP Kyle McClellan, on making his first start in the majors after 202 relief appearances.





   --LF Matt Holliday (appendectomy) underwent the procedure April 1. He figures to be out at least a week, but he hopes to avoid a stay on the disabled list.

   --RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.

   --INF Nick Punto (hernia surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He hopes to return in late April.

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