Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/03/11

The dual MLB debuts of Lance Lynn and Maikel Cleto did not go as hoped Thursday night as the Cardinals lost their third of four to the Giants at home.



Right-handers Lance Lynn and Maikel Cleto made history Thursday, but it wasn't anything to brag about.

They each gave up five earned runs in their first big-league game, dooming the Cardinals to a 12-7 loss to the Giants.

Lynn and Cleto became the first pitchers making debuts in the same game to allow five-plus runs in 55 years, since Mickey McDermott and Vince Gonzalez were cuffed around for the Washington Senators in a drubbing by the New York Yankees in 1955.

However, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa saw some positives in what both rookies did.

Lynn, taking the place of injured right-hander Kyle McClellan, pitched three perfect innings before a missed potential double play kept the fourth inning alive. The Giants scored two runs that inning, then tacked on three more in the sixth to take the lead.

Cleto, relieving in the seventh, walked his first two batters, and he allowed back-to-back home runs to Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff later in the inning. Huff had three homers for the night. After Cleto gave up five runs in the inning, he worked a perfect eighth.

"Lance was good early and then had a little struggle later," La Russa said. "Cleto, when he first went out there, was a little excited. But then he settled down."

Cleto, who was called up from Class AA Springfield, retired the final five hitters he faced after a visit to the mound from La Russa.

"Both showed their potential," La Russa said.

But the manager later added, "They both made a couple of mistakes. A lot of runs."

Six of the seven Cardinals runs were knocked in by center fielder Colby Rasmus, who had a two-run triple in the third and the second grand slam of his career in the seventh.

"He was definitely a highlight," La Russa said.

La Russa did wonder, though, why Rasmus and, to a lesser extent, left fielder Allen Craig, didn't go more aggressively after a sixth-inning drive by Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. The outfielders eased up, perhaps thinking the ball was going high off the wall or over the wall, but it hit just more than halfway up on the wall, bounced on the field and then skipped into the Giants bullpen for a double that ignited a three-run inning.

"It was up there a long time," La Russa said. "Sometimes outfielders get caught up thinking the ball's going to carry out of the park and they don't get there, just in case. There was some striding after the ball, instead of running, but I've got to see the replay."

Related article: "Dual six-RBI night elicits memories of "The Sandberg Game", new at The Cardinal Nation Blog.


CF Colby Rasmus hit a grand slam that kept the Cardinals close in a 12-7 loss to the Giants. He also hit his sixth triple, surpassing his total of five from his first two seasons. Rasmus has been up and down lately. He had a five-walk game in Kansas City on May 22. He had two singles and two triples May 27, and he knocked in six runs Thursday. However, he was 8-for-52 (.154) before his third-inning triple. "The more at-bats, the more consistent he'll be," manager Tony La Russa said.

It appeared that not only did Rasmus not give enough effort on a sixth-inning flyball, but SS Ryan Theriot turned a hard-hit, potential double play into a forceout in the fourth, keeping the inning alive for the first of Giants 1B Aubrey Huff's three home runs. 1B Albert Pujols also seemed to think San Francisco CF Andres Torres' bouncer over the bag was foul in a five-run seventh. Manager Tony La Russa, defensive about his defense, said, "Defensively, I didn't see anything I'd be critical of."

C Tony Cruz started at third base for the first time in his big-league career. He handled of both his chances cleanly before finishing the game behind the plate. Cruz is the sixth Cardinal to start at third this season. Daniel Descalso has made 29 starts, David Freese 21, Nick Punto three, Allen Craig two and Albert Pujols two.

RF Lance Berkman, stuck in an 0-for-13 skid, got the night off. He is scheduled to play all three games this weekend at home against the Cubs.

LF Matt Holliday, as expected, was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left quadriceps that has not healed. Holliday had been limited to pinch-hitting for much of the past two weeks.

SS Pete Kozma, who was 1-for-8 in 10 games with the Cardinals, was told after the game he was being optioned back to Class AAA Memphis. A position player will be called up Friday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 - Consecutive games in which SS Ryan Theriot has hit safely. It is the longest active streak in the majors. He is 23-for-67 (.343) during his run.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm going to make sure I call (Mitchell) Boggs so he hears it. We want to give Boggs the opportunity to do what he was sent down to do and not short-cut him. He's gone down and thrown four innings and done very well. We want to give him a couple more starts. I can't wait to get him back, but this is a great time for him to get in the work that he needs."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on RHP Mitchell Boggs and why he was not summoned from Class AAA Memphis.



LF Matt Holliday (strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 1.

RHP Kyle McClellan (left hip flexor strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31.

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.



Fri., June 3 vs. CUBS: Jaime Garcia (5-1, 3.28) vs. Ryan Dempster (4-4, 6.00) 7:15 p.m. CDT (MLB Network, FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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