Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/22/11

The Cardinals' pen blew their 14th save during Tuesday's eighth inning as Philly broke open a close game.

INSIDE PITCH

 

For the second time in a little more than a week, the Cardinals' bullpen allowed six or more runs in one inning as it blew a save.

With the memory of a six-run meltdown in Washington last week still all too fresh, five Cardinals relievers combined to allow nine runs in the eighth inning of a 10-2 Philadelphia victory. That ruined a brilliant start by right-hander Kyle McClellan, who held the Phillies to one run and five hits in seven innings.

Left-handed relievers Trever Miller and Brian Tallet and right-handed relievers Jason Motte, Miguel Batista and Maikel Cleto all gave up at least one run. Miller was the loser, but Motte was on the mound when he hit the only two men he faced to enable the Phillies to tie the score.

"The eighth inning was so ridiculous, it was hard to describe," manager Tony La Russa said.

Miller called it "mind-boggling. I'm disappointed most in that McClellan pitched a fantastic ballgame against a two-time Cy Young Award winner (Roy Halladay) and he deserved to win that ballgame."

Motte said, "To go out and there do what I did ... you've got to do your job better than that."

The blown save was the 14th for the Cardinals, who have saved 20.

NOTES, QUOTES

1B Albert Pujols, who has a fracture just above his left wrist, must wear a soft cast around his wrist for four weeks before resuming baseball-related activities. He more likely will be out six weeks, until around Aug. 1. "I need to listen to the doctors," said Pujols. "I'm not a doctor. I'm a ballplayer. I don't know anything about medicine. One thing that I don't want to do is try to rush this. We've still got three months left in the season. If you try to come back in two or three weeks it could push me back and bother me the rest of the season." As to whether he thought his injury might have any ramifications on his potential free agency, Pujols labeled it a "stupid question" and walked away.

The loss of Pujols will mean more time for two rookies, RF Andrew Brown and 1B Mark Hamilton, who ended a nothing-for-18 slide with a pinch single Tuesday night. Manager Tony La Russa said he could see Hamilton starting "a game or two a week." Brown will be in the lineup Wednesday against Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee.

La Russa said the biggest question about how much Hamilton plays is what Lance Berkman thinks is his least stressful position - right field or first base. "The No. 1 priority here is whatever it takes to keep (Berkman) healthy and playing the most. If that's the outfield, then first base is more open (to Hamilton)," said La Russa. "With all the bending over at first base, it's not necessarily easier to play first."

3B David Freese, recovering from a broken bone in his left hand, was 1-for-3 in his first rehabilitation game for Class AAA Memphis. INF Nick Punto, who is on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, was 3-for-4 as a designated hitter for Class AA Springfield in his second game on the medical rehabilitation option.

The Cardinals will keep 13 pitchers for a while. "Our plans don't last too long," said manager Tony La Russa. "You ask me now and we're not going to change in the next couple of days."

OF-INF Allen Craig, out with a broken right kneecap, is walking and doing some exercises. "I would be disappointed if I wasn't playing in a couple of weeks," he said. "I'm hoping that by the end of the week, I'm going to get the itch, realistically, to start playing and start swinging."

C Gerald Laird, out exactly a month with a broken right index finger, began playing catch and hitting off a tee on Tuesday. Laird has an X-ray scheduled two weeks from now and then, if cleared, can begin ramping up his activities.

 

   BY THE NUMBERS: 64 - Pitches thrown in the eighth inning Tuesday by five Cardinals relievers.

 

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I never thought about him during the game. That's a silly thought to have. It's a non-productive thought to have. We win with the guys we have."

- Manager Tony La Russa on not having injured 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. Pujols was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the radius bone in his left forearm and was expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

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 (broken right kneecap) 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 began 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

 

Wed., June 22 vs. PHILLIES: Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.67) vs. Cliff Lee (7-5, 3.12) 7:09 p.m. CDT (ESPN, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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