Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/09/11

Lance Berkman averted Houston's Bud Norris' no-hit bid in the seventh inning on Wednesday.



It's a good thing Lance Berkman showed up at his favorite ballpark, Houston's Minute Maid Park. Berkman, whose 155 home runs at that park are the most by any player, homered Wednesday with two outs in the seventh inning. It was Berkman's fourth homer in his last three games in Houston as a Cardinal.

The blast was also the only hit the Cardinals had off their nemesis, right-hander Bud Norris, in eight innings.

Albert Pujols doubled with two outs in the ninth for the Cardinals' second and final hit, but the damage had been done early, when three Norris walks in the early innings all were swallowed up by double plays. Norris is 6-2 in his three-season career against the Cardinals, and he beat them 4-1 Wednesday.

Left-hander Jaime Garcia, 4-0 at home with an 0.46 ERA, fell to 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA on the road. Garcia was not bad, but he was not particularly sharp, as he threw 99 pitches in just five innings and was up in the strike zone. This marked the third time in his last four starts that he hadn't gone past five innings.

"It was just one of those days when your stuff is not there," Garcia said. "Tough day."

Garcia said he didn't have a feel for his pitches and appeared to have difficulty repeating his delivery.

Manager Tony La Russa agreed that Garcia "wasn't sharp enough. He worked out of a couple of second-base-and-nobody-out (spots), so it wasn't like he stunk up the joint."

Otherwise, La Russa seemed to have little interest in discussing the game or especially the continued excellence of Norris against his team.

"I'm not going to spend a lot of talking about their side. Let them enjoy doing it," La Russa said. "(Norris) pitched a winning game."


OF Allen Craig, who suffered a deep bruise and gash on his right knee when he ran into a metal fence chasing a foul ball Tuesday, was unable to run Wednesday, so he was unavailable. He said he expected to be able to play when the swelling goes down, presumably in a few days. Jon Jay took Craig's place in right field Wednesday, and he went 0-for-4.

SS Ryan Theriot, though he walked twice, saw his career-best hitting streak end at 20 games. Theriot, after his first walk in the first inning, was hit in the left hand by Houston SS Clint Barmes' relay throw as Theriot was sliding. Theriot was bruised but stayed in the game. He finished 0-for-2.

RHP Ryan Franklin, who lost the closer's job earlier this season, took another step in the right direction with 1 1/3 innings of spotless relief. Franklin has had four scoreless outings in his last five.

The Cardinals took C Casey Rasmus, the brother of CF Colby Rasmus, in the 36th round of the draft Wednesday. The younger Rasmus hit .287 as a junior at Liberty University this year.

Rookie RHP Lance Lynn will make his second big-league start Thursday at Houston. Pitching coach Dave Duncan said that after Lynn threw three perfect innings in his first start last week against San Francisco, the young pitcher wasn't as aggressive the second time through the order. The Giants wound up scoring five runs off him in 5 1/3 innings.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 - Four-game winning streaks by the Cardinals this season. They haven't made it to five.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're confident in Ryan. It's no surprise to us. We're counting on him to be a contributor."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on the improvement shown by RHP Ryan Franklin.



OF Allen Craig (bruised right knee) was hurt June 7, and he didn't play June 8. He might miss a few more games.

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. He is expected to return and start by the June 14-16 series against Washington.

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.



Thurs., June 9 at Houston: RHP Lance Lynn (0-1, 8.44) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (3-7, 4.65)  7:05 P.M. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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