Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/20/11

Albert Pujols headed for X-rays, MRI on injured left wrist after the Cardinals walked off a win over Kansas City on Sunday.

INSIDE PITCH

 

   The Cardinals' flair for the dramatic was overshadowed Sunday.

 

   Skip Schumaker's ninth-inning home run beat Kansas City 5-4, marking the fourth consecutive home victory the Cardinals have achieved via a homer in their final at-bat. The first two were walk-offs by Albert Pujols, and the third was an eighth-inning, two-run drive by left fielder Matt Holliday on Saturday.

 

   But the bigger news Sunday occurred in the sixth inning, when Pujols left with a sprained left wrist. He was hurt when Kansas City runner Wilson Betemit ran into Pujols' arm as the latter was trying to field a one-bounce throw into the runner by rookie second baseman Pete Kozma.

 

   "It scared the hell out of all us," said manager Tony La Russa, who, like Pujols and the rest of the organization, was awaiting the results of X-rays and an MRI to be performed Monday. But La Russa said, "We've got a chance that it's bruised and not worse."

 

   Pujols was smiling after the game but concerned about his wrist and, to a lesser degree, the shoulder wrenched on the play.

 

   "(Betemit) hit me on my wrist and my shoulder," Pujols said. "He kind of jammed it back. As a first baseman, that's the toughest play to make, the ball that is running away. It's almost a bang-bang play. You can't let the ball go. You ... risk it, and hopefully don't get hurt.

 

   "All I can tell you right now is that I'm pretty sore. Am I worried? Of course. But I've got faith in the Lord, and hopefully everything comes out negative (Monday)."

 

   Pujols added, however, "When I come out of the game, something's really wrong."

 

   Related story: "Pujols Goes from Hero to Injured"

 

   The Cardinals managed to get over the shock of losing Pujols. Schumaker's home run, off Royals reliever Tim Collins, was the first of his career in 390 plate appearances against a left-handed pitcher.

 

   "I hit a few in the minors, not many," Schumaker said. "They don't come too often."

 

   The Cardinals won the last two games of the three-game series, with all three decided by 5-4 scores.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

   --The Cardinals blew two saves and nearly a third Sunday. The second blown save was assessed to RHP Fernando Salas, who allowed a game-tying homer by Kansas City's Alcides Escobar in the ninth inning. Salas is 12-for-14 in save chances but did pick up his fourth win. The homer was only the second he has allowed this season, but also the second in his last three outings.

 

   --1B Albert Pujols, an inning before he was run into at first base and knocked out of the game, hit his 17th homer of the season, his eighth this month. It also was his 16th against Kansas City in 11 years of interleague play.

 

   --LHP Jaime Garcia gave up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Royals. That raised his ERA at home to 0.81 for the season.

 

   --2B Skip Schumaker hit the second walk-off home run of his career. It was his fifth walk-off hit overall. Just before Schumaker's game-winner, Royals RF Jeff Francoeur had thrown out Cardinals 3B Daniel Descalso, who had tried for second on a hit to right. "If (Descalso) would have gotten to second, Skip would have been bunting," manager Tony La Russa said.

 

   --Rookie RF Andrew Brown had the first two-hit game of his week-long major league career. He had had just one hit in nine at-bats before he drove in two runs with a first-inning single.

 

   BY THE NUMBERS: 4-2 -- The Cardinals' record in the six interleague games with Kansas City this season. Three of the Cardinals' four wins were by one run, and St. Louis outscored Kansas City 26-24 in the six games.

 

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a great one. We don't want to lose him. Ever."

-- Manager Tony La Russa, on the sprained left wrist suffered by 1B Albert Pujols.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

 MEDICAL WATCH:

 

   --1B Albert Pujols (sprained left wrist) left the June 19 game. He was scheduled to have X-rays and an MRI on June 20.

 

   --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 (bruised 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. He expects to begin a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on June 20.

 

   --3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3. He is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on June 21, and he hopes to rejoin the Cardinals in late June.

 

   --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 and moved up to Memphis last week.

 

   --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

 

Mon., June 20: OPEN DATE

Tue., June 21 vs. PHILLIES: Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96) vs. Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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