Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/21/11

The St. Louis Cardinals new-look bullpen performed admirably in game two of Wednesday's doubleheader split.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The new-look, end-of-the-game format employed by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa Wednesday night in the second game of a day-night doubleheader worked almost without a flaw.

Right-handers Jason Motte, Eduardo Sanchez and Mitchell Boggs rattled off four innings of one-hit scoreless ball in a 5-3 win over Washington after the Nationals had roughed up right-hander Jake Westbrook in an 8-6 win in the afternoon.

Boggs gained his first save since he was in college at the University of Georgia. But it was the 22-year-old Sanchez who drew most of the raves.

A major leaguer for only a week after being brought up from Class AAA Memphis, Sanchez worked two perfect innings (the seventh and eighth) Wednesday night, giving him five big-league innings in which he has given up just two hits and no runs and fanned 10.

Veteran left-handed reliever Trever Miller said, "He acts like he's been here five or six years. He doesn't have that deer-in-the-headlight look at all."

The Cardinals' second-game win moved them into first place in the National League Central Division for the first time since last Aug. 14. Now, they are 9-9, the same mark sported by Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Chicago.

NOTES, QUOTES

RHP Ryan Franklin, replaced as closer, was the only Cardinals reliever to allow a run in 10 innings of work on Wednesday. Franklin worked two reasonably impressive innings in the opener but gave up a home run to Washington LF Laynce Nix and heard some boos. Franklin criticized St. Louis fans afterward. "They must have short memories," said Franklin, among other things. But late Wednesday night, he issued an apology. "Obviously these last 2-1/2 weeks have been frustrating for me, and I'm frustrated with myself," said Franklin. "I can understand why the fans are frustrated. Things didn't come out the right way. It was right after the game and I said things I shouldn't have said. I apologize for that. It was the wrong thing to say, but at the same time, I was frustrated."

RF Lance Berkman was on base six times in the two games with four walks and two hits. He has a .339 average and team-leading 15 runs batted in, besides slugging .695.

Manager Tony La Russa, battling a virus that has attacked the area around his right eye, still showed considerable swelling and redness. Asked after the first-game loss how he felt, La Russa said, "I don't feel real good right now. I'm getting better. The uglier it is, the better you feel. that's what I heard."

RHP Jason Motte worked a scoreless inning in each game and has put together five straight scoreless outings.

INF Nick Punto, just off the disabled list, made his first start at second base and had both a hit and an RBI in the second game. Punto had been out nearly two months after abdominal surgery.

BY THE NUMBERS: 24 - Number of double plays grounded into by the Cardinals in 18 games. That would be a pace of over 200 for the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "First and foremost, I'm letting myself down. I'm letting the team down and obviously the fans. It's just been a hard time for me right now, and it's something I've never been through."

- RHP Ryan Franklin, explaining why he criticized Busch Stadium fans for booing him Wednesday. He later apologized.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

INF Nick Punto (hernia surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He was activated April 19.

2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. Manager Tony La Russa said Schumaker might be out longer than 15 days.

OF Allen Craig (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 17. He hopes to return after the minimum absence.

LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He had screws inserted in his hand, and he hopes to return in early May.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13.

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.

NEXT GAME

 

Thu., Apr. 21 vs. NATIONALS: Kyle Lohse (2-1, 2.82) vs. Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 5.56) 12:45 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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