Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/11/11

Chris Carpenter and Daniel Descalso led the Cardinals to a series-opening win at Wrigley on Tuesday night.



It wasn't pretty by most standards. Right-hander Chris Carpenter allowed 16 baserunners in seven innings Tuesday night. There was one hit batsman, two walks and there were 13 Cubs hits -- all singles.

But Carpenter, who had to endure a 35-pitch first inning when the Cubs scored twice, allowed only four runs out of all that, and rookie third baseman Daniel Descalso's two-run single in the top of the eighth inning gave Carpenter his first victory, 6-4. Carpenter had gone a career-high seven games without a win at the start of the season.

Bench coach Joe Pettini, replacing manager Tony La Russa, who was going through tests in Scottsdale, Ariz., for what has been diagnosed as shingles, made one key move. Pettini inserted Jon Jay into right field in the bottom of the eighth after Jay had pinch-hit in the top half. Jay immediately delivered by making a lunging, diving catch to rob pinch hitter Blake DeWitt for the first out.

Albert Pujols had his first four-hit game of the season, and both he and Matt Holliday ran the bases brilliantly during a critical segment in the eighth inning.

With the score tied at 4-4, Pujols and Holliday both advanced as Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukudome made a poor throw to the infield after catching Lance Berkman's flyball. That forced an intentional walk to Yadier Molina.

Nick Punto lined out, with nobody scoring. But Descalso took advantage of perhaps one too many cut fastballs thrown by Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood, lacing a high cutter for a two-run single.

Descalso has five hits in 18 at-bats with men in scoring position, but those hits have been clutch. He has 12 RBI.

"I want to be up there in a big spot with guys on base and the game on the line," Descalso said.


General manager John Mozeliak confirmed that manager Tony La Russa would miss the entire six-game trip to Chicago and Cincinnati. La Russa, instead of flying to Chicago on Tuesday for the start of a three-game series, went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., for treatment of a shingles affliction that has affected his right eye and right side of his face. Bench coach Joe Pettini is the acting manager, and pitching coach Dave Duncan will handle the pitchers, as he has done in nearly 30 years with La Russa.

Mozeliak said that after consulting with team doctors and those attending to La Russa in Arizona, "We thought it was best for him to let the pain subside. We're very hopeful of having him back on Monday when the team returns to St. Louis." For now, Mozeliak said, "(Doctors) feel like the best treatment for him is rest and time away."

Pettini, who will be the official manager for a week while La Russa is out, said, "We're glad he finally went out there to get checked out. Hopefully, when he gets back Monday, he'll be back in the dugout."

Pettini said he planned to talk to La Russa on a daily basis. "He's going to have a finger on it," said Pettini, smiling. "I was hoping I wouldn't have to take my phone down into the dugout."

RHP Chris Carpenter allowed 10 or more hits for the third consecutive start, and he permitted a career-high 13 hits Tuesday in seven innings. But all were singles, and many weren't hit that hard. Carpenter limited the damage to four runs, and he scored his first win in three decisions. Carpenter was facing Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano for the eighth time in their careers. The Cardinals are 3-5 in those games, and Carpenter is 2-3. "It was a weird game. I felt like I threw all right," Carpenter said. "It wasn't like they were smashing balls all over the ballpark."

Carpenter became the first Cardinals pitcher to gain a win when giving up at least 13 hits since Bob Forsch in 1980.

2B Nick Punto, who tripled home a run in the fourth inning, was called out - incorrectly, it appeared on television replay - for leaving third base too soon as he came home on 3B Daniel Descalso's potential sacrifice fly. Third base umpire Paul Nauert made the call.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez recorded his fourth save in four tries. Sanchez, a rookie, and RHP Fernando Salas, also brought up from Class AAA Memphis late last month, are 7-for-7 in save opportunities since they arrived.

BY THE NUMBERS: 45 - Double plays grounded into by the Cardinals, by far the highest total in the majors. No. 45, by C Yadier Molina, came with the bases loaded in the first inning, but Molina later doubled home a run in the fourth.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's like, 'Who do you love more? Your mom or your dad?"

- New Cardinals SS Ryan Theriot, returning to Wrigley Field, where he played with the hometown Cubs for a half-dozen years. Upon signing with the Cardinals in the offseason, Theriot had said he was "on the right side of the rivalry." But on Tuesday, he wanted to remember his good years with the Cubs, too.



INF/OF Allen Craig (sore left calf) was hurt May 6, and he didn't play May 7-10. He is day-to-day.

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.



Wed., May 11 at CUBS: Jake Westbrook (2-2, 6.14) vs. Matt Garza (1-4, 4.43) 7:05 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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