Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/17/11

The Cardinals finished a rough road trip with an extra-innings loss in Washington on Thursday as Fernando Salas yielded a walk-off home run.



Even reliable right-hander Fernando Salas buckled Thursday night as the Cardinals concluded a disappointing nine-game trip with a 7-4 loss in 10 innings to Washington.

Salas, who has 11 saves and three wins, surrendered a three-run homer, his first of the season, to Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa in the bottom of the 10th as the Cardinals lost their sixth in a row and seventh in nine games on the trip.

St. Louis is in the midst of its longest losing streak since September 2008 after taking its 11th last at-bat loss of the season.

"It's pretty frustrating," first baseman-turned-third-baseman Albert Pujols said, "but there's nothing we can do. We're trying our best."

Pujols said he thought the effort was high.

"I would be more disappointed if we were walking around here with our heads down and not be ready to play," he said. "We just ran into a couple of hot teams (Milwaukee and Washington)."

The Cardinals did not go quietly Thursday, as they had the previous night in a 10-0 setback. Pujols homered in the eighth and catcher Yadier Molina homered in the ninth to tie the score.

But, for the second night in succession, the Cardinals gave up four homers to the Nationals, the first three served up by right-hander Kyle Lohse, who failed to earn his eighth win for the third time.

Manager Tony La Russa, however, gave Lohse credit for keeping his team close through six innings. And he praised his team for coming back.

"It was a hellacious effort on our part," La Russa said. "The effort was outstanding. A very difficult loss."


RHP Fernando Salas had to work into a second inning, which he rarely does, and manager Tony La Russa admitted Salas didn't have the same stuff late in his outing. Salas gave up a three-run, walk-off homer to Washington's Danny Espinosa. "It's kind of cruel," La Russa said of asking Salas to go out for a second inning. "He wasn't the same in the second inning. His breaking ball didn't have much snap, and (Espinosa) hit it out of the park."

RHP Chris Carpenter will make his 15th start seeking his second win Friday night at home against Kansas City. "I've got to be more aggressive at times," Carpenter said.

LF Matt Holliday made a strong return after missing 15 days with a strained left quadriceps. He made two sliding catches in the first inning and homered in his first time at-bat. Holliday also singled.

To clear a spot for Holliday's return to the active roster, RHP Eduardo Sanchez was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 13, with a mild shoulder strain. An MRI exam performed in St. Louis revealed no structural damage to Sanchez's shoulder, according to GM John Mozeliak. "The key thing is, once he gets back his flexibility and strength, then it becomes just getting him back into that throwing environment," Mozeliak said.

With the bullpen in some disarray now, the Cardinals might have interest in LHP J.C. Romero, who was designated for assignment by Philadelphia on Thursday.

SS Ryan Theriot sat out Thursday's game because of some left knee discomfort. Theriot did not believe his knee was the reason for some recent shabby fielding performances. "I'm not blaming one for the other," said Theriot, adding that he hoped to be available for Friday night's game in St. Louis against Kansas City.

RHP Bryan Augenstein has allowed five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings over three rehab appearances for Class A Palm Beach. Augenstein has been on the disabled list since mid-April due to a strained right groin.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1-for-21 - Backup SS Tyler Greene's offensive performance in June. He was 0-for-5 in a start Thursday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is the big leagues. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us, and we're not going to feel sorry for anybody."

- 1B Albert Pujols, on the Cardinals' six-game losing streak.



SS Ryan Theriot (sore left knee) did not play June 16. He is day-to-day.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. An MRI exam revealed no structural damage.

OF Allen Craig (right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He will be out until July.

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. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Palm Beach on June 7.

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 17 vs. ROYALS: Chris Carpenter (1-6, 4.47) vs. Felipe Paulino (0-0, 1.29) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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