Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/24/11

Backed by a big offense, Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals turned back the clock Thursday night to defeat the Phillies.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Right-hander Chris Carpenter, unaccustomed to such support, didn't need most of the 12 runs the Cardinals hung on the Philadelphia Phillies in a 12-2 triumph Thursday night. Carpenter had to throw 124 pitches in seven innings, but he held the Phillies to five singles and one run.

The most significant number was 2, as in Carpenter's second win in 16 starts this season. He has won only three of his last 21 starts over two seasons. The Cardinals had averaged only 3.7 runs per Carpenter start this year.

"Well deserved," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We finally got him some runs to work with, and that helps."

Carpenter (2-7) came up with a big game when the Cardinals, losers in nine of their previous 11 games, most needed it. In their first two games without injured first baseman Albert Pujols, they had scored a total of two runs in games started by Philadelphia aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Before Thursday's game, some of the players met coach Mike McCarthy of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

"The boys saw that Super Bowl ring and put up two touchdowns but missed the extra points," La Russa cracked.

Carpenter pointed to some things he had done better offensively, like getting two sacrifice bunts down, unlike his last start against Kansas City, when he popped up a bunt at a key time. The first sacrifice moved runners to second and third in the second inning, and Ryan Theriot delivered both with a single to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

The record still may poor, but the 35-year-old Carpenter likes what he's doing.

"I've been good," he said. "The last three starts, my stuff has been just as good as it was tonight. I still feel like I'm a quality pitcher running out there every five days.

"The wins and losses don't show it, but I still believe in myself."

NOTES, QUOTES

 

RHP Chris Carpenter threw 124 pitches for the second time in succession. However, manager Tony La Russa pointed out that Carpenter, as he did Thursday, will have an extra day's rest before he pitches at Baltimore next Wednesday.

Rookie C Tony Cruz handled RHP Chris Carpenter for the second time in a row. Cruz also drove in his first two runs in the majors with two singles, but he realizes his value to the team is through his defense while veteran Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) is out. "I'm just trying to learn from what (Carpenter) likes to do and maybe apply it to other pitchers," Cruz said. "Whatever I wanted, he was there. He was nasty the whole game."

LHP Raul Valdes was promoted to be the third left-hander in the bullpen as the other two, Trever Miller and Brian Tallet, have been inconsistent. "We'll give him a chance to help us," manager Tony La Russa said. "The key is to pitch him and weigh it yourself." Valdes had been 5-2 with a 5.05 ERA in 21 games (seven starts) for Class AAA Memphis.

RHP Maikel Cleto was optioned to Class AAA Memphis, with his latest big-league stint lasting less than a week. In two big-league appearances overall this season, Cleto has allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (right groin strain) was removed from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Class AAA Memphis, where he was on a rehab assignment. Augenstein had been on the disabled list since April 13. In a combined six rehab outings for Class A Palm Beach and Memphis, he was 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA. He made five appearances for the Cardinals early in the season, allowing seven runs (six earned) in 5 2/3 innings.

RHP David Kopp was outrighted to Class AA Springfield, taking him off the Cardinals' 40-man roster. He was already on Springfield's roster, going 2-4 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts this season.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) and INF Nick Punto (right forearm strain), on rehab assignments at Class AAA Memphis and Class AA Springfield, respectively, both may join the major league club in Baltimore next week, GM John Mozeliak said. However, RHP Eduardo Sanchez (right shoulder strain) is another two to three weeks away from coming off the disabled list.

RF Jon Jay's fifth homer was his longest, a 427-foot shot in the first inning off Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt.

1B Lance Berkman, who had a total of 14 homers and 58 RBI last year with the Astros and the Yankees, hit his 18th homer. His three RBI gave him 54.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 300 - Left-handed home runs by switch-hitting 1B Lance Berkman. He has 45 right-handed.

 

  QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have no idea how that could be possible, except that truth is stranger than fiction."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on RHP Chris Carpenter winning his first game at Busch Stadium since last Sept. 30.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

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 he moved his rehab to Class AAA Memphis on June 17. He was activated and optioned to Memphis on June 23.

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, and he could be activated during the June 28-30 series at Baltimore.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2. He had surgery May 3. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on June 21, and he could be activated during the June 28-30 series at Baltimore.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He is unlikely to return before mid-July.

1B Albert Pujols (sprained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 20. Pujols was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the radius bone in his left forearm, and he will be out until late July or early August.

OF Allen Craig (fractured 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.

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

 

Fri., June 24 vs. BLUE JAYS: Jake Westbrook (6-4, 5.16) vs. Brandon Morrow (3-4, 5.02) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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