Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/26/11

Chris Carpenter's complete game was not enough as the Cardinals lost in San Diego on Wednesday.



The good news is that right-hander Chris Carpenter's arm strength is fine.

Carpenter, who had a string of shoulder and elbow problems until a couple of years ago, is throwing freely and on Wednesday he pitched his first complete game of the season.

The bad news is that he and the Cardinals don't win when he starts.

A difficult 3-1 loss at San Diego, in which Carpenter pitched eight innings, dropped Carpenter's record to 1-5 this season and the Cardinals' mark to 2-9 in games he has started.

Carpenter leads the National League in hits allowed at 84 and opponents are batting nearly .300 against him.

But as has been the case in several of Carpenter's setbacks, he could have benefited from more offense and a tad better defense.

Shortstop Tyler Greene one-hopped a relay throw to catcher Yadier Molina in the eighth inning and Padres' shortstop Jason Bartlett slid home with the tying run.

Third baseman Chase Headley, who doubled to score Bartlett, advanced to third as the Greene's throw got away and scored on an infield hit as third baseman Daniel Descalso could not make a play behind the bag.

The loss was only the Cardinals' second in 10 games. They did not have a runner in scoring position after the second inning and hit only three singles after the second.

Left fielder Matt Holliday sat out a third consecutive game because of a strained left quadriceps and center fielder Colby Rasmus' dreadful slump continued to 0-for-20 and 1-for-28. The Cardinals are averaging 3.44 runs a game when Carpenter starts.

"It's been several times and it's been the same scenario," manager Tony La Russa said. "We cannot seem to push enough offense to give him a legitimate chance to win."

In his previous start, Carpenter blanked Kansas City for the first six innings, but his team didn't score.

"Most of his starts have been like this," La Russa said. "He's held the other team down and we just can't score any runs. He's more than doing his part."

Carpenter said: "Things happen. It's just been weird."

For example, Carpenter said, the two-out bunt hit by Bartlett came right after Descalso had been moved back by the coaching staff. Then, Headley, Carpenter said, hit a ball to the opposite field on a ball that wasn't even a strike.

"That's the way it's going," Carpenter said. "I feel like I've been throwing pretty well. There have been a few starts where I haven't been very good."


LF Matt Holliday did not do any sprinting on Wednesday during a workout to test his left quadriceps and there is no guarantee he will be able to play this weekend in Colorado.

OF Jon Jay, over his last 16 games, is 22-for-55 (.400). Jay had two of the Cardinals' six hits on Wednesday and LF Lance Berkman also had two.

Even though the Cardinals lost the final game of the series, they have won 12 of their last 14 series after losing their first three.

The Cardinals had some faulty execution offensively in the last couple of innings. Lance Berkman, after a leadoff single in the seventh, was thrown out at second as C Yadier Molina didn't swing at a 1-and-0 pitch. "Missed sign," manager Tony Russa said.

In the eighth, RHP Chris Carpenter, after being switched off the bunt, flied out on a hit-and-run play with a man at first and one out. The Cardinals managed to win two games in this series although they scored only seven runs.

BY THE NUMBERS: 36 - Number of times in 51 games in which the Cardinals have scored first. That is the highest total in the majors.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to find a way to get him going."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on slumping CF Colby Rasmus, who has had one hit since May 13 and is in a 0-for-20 skid.



LF Matt Holliday (tight left quadriceps) left the May 22 game and did not play May 23 or 24. He is expected to sit out the May 25 game as well and, after an off day for the team, possibly return May 27. Holliday did not run sprints to test the injury on May 25 and remained questionable for May 27.

C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) was injured May 22. He was placed on the disabled list May 23 and will be out until July.

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

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.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. He was transferred 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 26: OPEN DATE

Fri., May 27 at ROCKIES: Jack Westbrook (4-3, 5.17) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (0-4, 5.44) 7:40 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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