Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/01/11

Ryan Franklin and Skip Schumaker were unlikely heroes as the Cards defeated the Giants Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

INSIDE PITCH

   Reliever Ryan Franklin and second baseman Skip Schumaker, who had been invisible to St. Louis fans in May, made dramatic returns Tuesday night.

   Franklin, who struggled as the closer before being reduced to more mundane roles, made his first Busch Stadium appearance since April 23 in the eighth inning of a game in which the Cardinals trailed 3-1 to the San Francisco Giants. Franklin, who has been much better lately after it was determined that he was tipping his pitches, faced three hitters and fanned them all.

   He then gained credit for his first win since July 31 of last year when the Cardinals rallied for three runs in the eighth and a subsequent 4-3 victory.

   Doubles by right fielder Jon Jay, third baseman Albert Pujols and left fielder Allen Craig tied the score at 3-3 in the eighth. Then, after Craig reached third on a groundout and catcher Yadier Molina was walked intentionally, Schumaker, starting his first game at home since April 6, sent a hard grounder to the right side.

   Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez made a diving stop, but Schumaker beat Sanchez's throw to first, which was caught by left-hander Javier Lopez, with a headfirst slide as Craig scored the winning run.

   Schumaker, who had been out five weeks with a right triceps strain and a ligament issue near his right elbow, had been just 2-for-19 since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

   "Anytime you can sniff out a hit - I've been known to dive headfirst for the bag," said Schumaker.

   Schumaker, who probably came back too soon from his rehabilitation option, has given way to Craig on a platoon basis at second lately as manager Tony La Russa has made use both of Craig and Jay, another second-year player.

   "I don't have a problem with it because the guys that are in there are red hot," said Schumaker. "What can you do? We're trying to win here. We're not trying to do anybody favors."

NOTES AND QUOTES

  --RHP Ryan Franklin, who blew four saves in five chances in April before being stripped of the closer role, praised pitching coach Dave Duncan for finding a flaw in his delivery whereby he was tipping his pitches. "Dunc's had a good eye for my delivery for the past five years," said the 38-year-old Franklin, who gained the win Tuesday night. "He just kind of cleaned it up."

   --RHP Kyle McClellan will miss at least one start and possibly more with a left hip problem that cropped up in Monday's loss. It is likely the Cardinals will recall a pitcher from Class AAA Memphis for McClellan's next start on Saturday.

   --LF Matt Holliday, who was a late scratch from the lineup and then fanned on three pitches a pinch hitter, still is having trouble with his left leg and perhaps his hip, and it wouldn't be shocking if both he and McClellan were placed on the disabled list. Manager Tony La Russa pointed out that if the season were in the last week, the Cardinals might try to "gut it out" with Holliday. "But this is the beginning of the third month," said La Russa. "We need to get him healthy. He gives us a lot. Gold Glove defense. He runs the bases for a big man. We've just got to get him well."

   --RHP Chris Carpenter had to exit after five innings and 103 pitches although he allowed just two runs and fanned eight. He did not get the win, remaining at 1-5, but the Cardinals improved to 3-9 in his 12 starts. Manager Tony La Russa said, "Carp was a warhorse again. He had to work hard. He did his part. Again."

   --SS Ryan Theriot singled in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to a personal-best 14 games. It's the longest streak by a Cardinals hitter this season. Theriot, 20-for-59 (.339) in the streak, has provided the club consistent performance in the leadoff spot, either getting on base or making the opposing pitcher go deep into counts.

   --3B-1B Albert Pujols might be on the rise. For the first time since April 15-16, Pujols had consecutive multi-hit games, raising his average to .267. For the second time this season, Pujols started at third base.

   --LF Allen Craig, who has wedged his way into the lineup almost as a regular, is 8-for-16 over the last five games. "It's tough to sit him," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's kept us going. Like every club, you take a hit here or there and you've got to have some depth. We've got some nice depth. Winning players."

BY THE NUMBERS: .397 - OF Jon Jay's average for May, highest in the National League.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  "I think it's faster, but Tony (La Russa) and some of his better baseball guys don't. But I've always argued that I think it's faster. Tonight it was faster."

- 2B Skip Schumaker, on his headfirst dive into first base for what proved to be the game-winning hit in the eighth inning.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

   --LF Matt Holliday (tight left quadriceps) left the May 22 game and did not play May 23-25. He was used as a pinch hitter May 27-28, then sat out May 29. He returned to the lineup on May 30 but then was a late scratch May 31 and struck out on three pitches as a pinch hitter. A trip to the disabled list is a possibility.

   --RHP Kyle McClellan (sore left hip) was feeling pain after his May 30 start and might be headed to the disabled list.

   --C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He 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.

NEXT GAME 

Wed., June 1 vs. GIANTS: Jake Westbrook (5-3, 5.19) vs. Tim Lincecum (5-4, 2.22) 7:15 p.m. CDT (ESPN, FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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