Third baseman Daniel Descalso's first major league homer, a three-run shot in the seventh inning Tuesday, gave right-hander Fernando Salas his first major league win, 7-5 over Florida, even though Salas had allowed the go-ahead run in the top of the inning on Tuesday.
"It was a strange game in a lot of ways," said manager Tony La Russa.
The Cardinals drew eight
First baseman Albert Pujols, who is 1 for his last 18 and down to .231, endured his second nothing-for-five game of the season.
Descalso, who started his night at second base and finished it at third, had reached base all three times he had batted before his homer on an 0-1 pitch from right-hander Clay Hensley.
In a key play perhaps gone unnoticed, the seventh inning was kept alive by Colby Rasmus getting a good jump off first base on a 3-1 count to catcher Yadier Molina. Molina bounced to pitcher Ryan Webb, who intended to go to second to start what would have been an inning-ending double play. Since Rasmus was already there, though, Webb turned his attentions to Lance Berkman, who correctly had broken from third.
Berkman was run down between third and home, but the Cardinals had made only one out instead of two, clearing the way for the 24-year-old Descalso, who got his first curtain call at Busch Stadium.
"That," he said, "was pretty special. You've got to cherish those moments. They don't happen very often.'
1B Albert Pujols has seven homers and 19 runs batted in, respectable figures, but his average of .231 is about 100 points off his norm. He also has bounced into 10 double plays, easily the major league high. Manager Tony La Russa said he didn't worry about Pujols "as long as he doesn't get discouraged. He's a human being. I'm sure he's frustrated at times. Hits the ball hard, double play. Hits the ball hard to center field. But he'll be fine because he's smart and tough-minded and he won't allow himself to be at less than his best."
3B Allen Craig made just his second start at that position on Tuesday. He walked twice and hustled a double in his three plate appearances and had just one fielding play, a tough chance on which he threw high to first. The play was ruled an infield hit. La Russa took Craig out for defense after five innings and said he would continue to do so in a close game if Craig was playing that position until Craig had established himself more. The Cardinals will have to improvise at third base for the next two to three months as 3B David Freese recovers from left hand surgery, which he had on Tuesday.
SS Ryan Theriot has made eight errors in the Cardinals' first 30 games, but manager Tony La Russa said he had no intention of moving Theriot to second base as his two previous teams, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, did. La Russa believes Theriot's offensive contributions (.306 average) far outweigh his defense. "I look at the whole player," said La Russa. "He's played his butt off every day. He makes a lot of plays, he kicks a few balls … overall he's been a significant plus for us as a player. He never takes a game off; he never takes an inning off. Those kinds of guys over six months do a lot of extra things for you."
RHP Kyle Lohse wasn't
able to do his off-day running after being drilled in the right shin by a liner
LF Matt Holliday belted a two-run homer in the first, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Holliday is 12 for 26 (.462) with men in scoring position.
BY THE NUMBERS: 50 - Three-walk games in RF Lance Berkman's career after he got three free passes Tuesday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know where we're going to finish or what's ahead, but this is a really good club to be around because of the guts they have."
- Manager Tony La Russa on his team, which rallied for a win on Tuesday.
3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He will have surgery May 3, and he is expected to be out until mid- to late July.
2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. He hopes to return in May.
LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He was throwing but not catching in early May, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.
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.