Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/02/11

The Cardinals ended their road trip with a very frustrating and damaging loss on Sunday.



The Cardinals bullpen suffered a major league-high eighth blown save and endured its seventh loss Sunday. That wasn't the worst loss of the day for St. Louis, which watched third baseman David Freese leave in the sixth inning with a broken left hand.

Second baseman Nick Punto also exited early, with a tight hamstring, in the 6-5 loss to Atlanta.

Poor defense by the Cardinals' infield contributed to the loss as well, as St. Louis failed to pull off its first three-game sweep at Atlanta since 1988.

Right-handed reliever Ryan Franklin, who would have no luck if it wasn't bad, suffered his third loss in the defeat to the Braves. Franklin, demoted from the closer's role, was throwing the ball better than he had in a couple of weeks but caught no breaks in the ninth.

First, shortstop Ryan Theriot, trying to catch the ball one-handed, dropped Atlanta shortstop Alex Gonalez's leadoff popup. After a sacrifice, Franklin pitched around center fielder Nate McLouth, walking him. Then Franklin broke the bat of pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad but Conrad blooped a game-winning hit to right-center.

In the seventh, the Braves had gone ahead after a grounder skipped off the leg of first baseman Albert Pujols, who wound up at third base, where he played for the first time since Sept. 23, 2002. Manager Tony La Russa had to move some infielders around after starting Punto had to come out in the second inning because of a tight left hamstring and Freese followed in the sixth. Freese was struck in the left hand by a pitch from right-hander Scott Linebrink. The early diagnosis was that Freese, one of the Cardinals' top hitters at .356, broke a bone in the hand although he will be re-evaluated Monday in St. Louis.

"It didn't feel too good and it didn't sound too good," said Freese, who was wearing a cast after the game.

La Russa, while lamenting a good effort that was wasted Sunday, bemoaned more the loss of Freese.

"It's really hard to take for our team and for him after all the work he's done to get ready," said La Russa.

Freese had done considerable rehabilitation to get ready for this season after undergoing surgeries on both ankles last year.

Note: More details about the Freese injury can be found here.


INF/OF Allen Craig, who has been on a rehabilitation assignment at Class AA Springfield (Mo.) because of a groin injury, may be activated Monday. The Cardinals need someone to replace David Freese, who suffered a broken bone in his left hand when hit by a pitch in the sixth inning Sunday.

LF Matt Holliday had two more hits, both doubles, extending his hitting streak to seven games. In that span, he is 13-for-32 and he's hitting a league-leading .418 overall.

1B Albert Pujols, who played third base in his first two seasons with the Cardinals, was moved to that spot for the eighth and ninth innings Sunday when the Cardinals ran low on infielders due to injuries to 2B Nick Punto (left hamstring) and 3B David Freese. The first ball of the eighth, a grounder by Braves 3B Chipper Jones, was hit to Pujols, who charged in to field the slow roller and made the play at first.

LHP Jaime Garcia still is unbeaten (3-0) but he was unable to hang onto a four-run lead after he pitched four perfect innings to start the game. Garcia, who opened by fanning the side, forced the Braves to swing and miss at 16 pitches, a staggeringly high total. "He pitched really well," said manager Tony La Russa. "He had one bad inning." That was the fifth when Garcia gave up three runs, two on a homer by Braves SS Alex Gonzalez.

SS Ryan Theriot, who dropped a popup that led to the winning run in the ninth, also bounced into a key double play in the sixth when the Cardinals loaded the bases but didn't score.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 - March/April wins for RHP Chris Carpenter, though he allowed three runs or fewer in five of his six starts.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Losing the game is secondary to losing (David) Freese."

- Manager Tony La Russa after his third baseman suffered a broken bone in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch.



2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16.

OF Allen Craig (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 17. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield (Mo.) on April 29.

LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He had screws inserted in his hand. He was scheduled to throw side sessions every other day in late April. Tallet, who is scheduled to have stitches removed from his hand May 1, 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.



Mon., May 2 vs. MARLINS: Kyle Lohse (4-1, 1.64) vs. Chris Volstad (2-1, 5.32) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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