Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/19/11

Kyle Lohse pitched the Cards to a win over Houston Wednesday night, but two star outfielders left the game early due to injury.



The Cardinals' 5-1 win over Houston on Wednesday night was achieved without much difficulty from a technical standpoint. The Cardinals scored four runs in the third inning off their nemesis, Bud Norris, and Kyle Lohse (5-2), allowed two runs or fewer for the seventh time in nine starts and held Houston to six hits and one run in eight innings.

But there was some collateral attrition involved.

Before the game, infielder Nick Punto was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right forearm flexor.

Then, during the game, left fielder Matt Holliday exited after two innings because of tightness in his left quadriceps, which he appeared to hurt making a retreating first-inning catch.

To make matters worse, right fielder Lance Berkman had to come out of the game after the top of the fifth when he bent back his right wrist back making a diving catch.

Manager Tony La Russa said Holliday had given him a "nod" after the game, suggesting he wasn't that bad, although Holliday might not start Thursday's day game.

Berkman said his wrist "doesn't feel great," and he will see a doctor on Thursday morning. He said, "I don't anticipate it being that big a deal." But he isn't likely to play Thursday, either.

So La Russa finished the game with rookie Pete Kozma, making his major league debut, playing second base and infielder Tyler Greene in right field. Earlier, first baseman Mark Hamilton had taken a brief tour in left field.

Lohse, who has the best WHIP in the league (.935) and pitched at least eight innings for a fourth time, said, "I can't even tell you who was where at the end of the game. It shows we're a scrappy team, I guess."


CF Colby Rasmus, though he pinch hit in the eighth, missed his fourth straight start with an abdominal strain. Manager Tony La Russa said he expected Rasmus to be ready to play this weekend in Kansas City, if not in the finale of the two-game series with Houston.

CF Jon Jay has taken full advantage of CF Colby Rasmus' injury. Jay is 7-for-15 during a five-game hitting streak and has knocked in six runs in that time. He also made a diving catch after a long run in left center to start a rally-killing double play in the seventh. "Who knows, if that ball's not caught, what that game becomes?" manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a good ballplayer."

INF Pete Kozma, who was hitting .220 as the shortstop at Class AAA Memphis before being recalled earlier Wednesday, doubled in his first at-bat as a pinch hitter and then played well at an unfamiliar position, second base. "He hit a nasty slider," La Russa said. "He handled himself well. Very impressive."

LF Matt Holliday had only one at-bat before leaving with a left quadriceps strain. He extended his hitless streak to 14 at-bats although his .357 average still leads the league, eight points ahead of RF Lance Berkman, who departed with a jammed right wrist.

C Yadier Molina, hitting as well as he has in his career, recorded his fourth straight multi-hit game and second straight three-hit game. He is 10 for his last 15 and is 38 for his last 100, raising his average to .323.

RHP Jake Westbrook, LHP Jaime Garcia and RHP Kyle Lohse combined to work 23 innings in the first three games of this homestand, giving up a total of two earned runs.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 - Consecutive multi-hit games for SS Ryan Theriot, who is hitting .304, giving the Cardinals five regulars hitting .300 or more. 1B Albert Pujols, a three-time Most Valuable Player, is well back at .269.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was my next hard throw I was worried about."

- INF Nick Punto, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm flexor.



LF Matt Holliday (left quadriceps tightness) came out of the game May 18. He indicated after the game the injury wasn't serious, but he might be out a day or two.

RF Lance Berkman (sore right wrist) was injured making a diving catch May 18. He's day-to-day.

INF Nick Punto (right forearm flexor strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 18.

CF Colby Rasmus (right rib cage strain) missed just his second start of the season on May 15 and was out again May 16-18. Rasmus said he felt pain after lifting weights on the May 9 off day. He thinks he'll be able to play by the weekend of May 20-22 at the latest.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had 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 reported to extended spring training May 18 and hopes to return to the Cardinals within a couple of days.

LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He is on a rehab assignment and should be back soon.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13 and was moved to the 60-day DL on May 16.

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.



Thu., May 19 vs. ASTROS: Kyle McClellan (5-1, 3.62) vs. J.A. Happ (3-4, 5.75) 12:45 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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