Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/25/11

Fernando Salas was taken deep by Toronto's Jose Bautista in Friday's ninth inning as St. Louis lost.

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INSIDE PITCH

 

The lights at Busch Stadium came back in the ninth inning, just in time for Toronto's Jose Bautista to hit a game-winning homer to beat the Cardinals, 5-4.

For the second time this month, a bank of lights on the roof of the stadium between home plate and first went out, stopping play for 13 minutes before right-handed reliever Fernando Salas threw his initial pitch of the ninth inning.

Salas, after warming up again, retired the first hitter he faced, but then Bautista, who had had only two homers in his last 23 games, cracked his 23rd of the season into the Cardinals' bullpen in right center.

Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, though he wasn't saddled with the loss, continued an unnerving trend of failing to complete the sixth inning. For the fifth time in his last six starts, Westbrook couldn't get into the seventh.

After giving up 10 hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings, Westbrook was replaced with one out in the fifth by right-hander Mitchell Boggs, who gave the Cardinals a chance to stay in the game by fanning two hitters with the bases loaded.

Right-handed rookie Lance Lynn, making his first major-league relief appearance, was equally effective, blanking the Blue Jays for three innings.

"Boggs was impressive and Lynn was outstanding," said manager Tony La Russa. "I thought we were going to win."

Westbrook has allowed 48 hits and 21 runs in his last 33 1/3 innings, and his earned run average is a bloated 5.32. He has worked more than six innings in only four of his 16 outings.

"He's just into the work-too-hard part of that cycle. But that's just my opinion. It may not be accurate," said La Russa.

Westbrook, however, put it bluntly.

"I just wasn't very good from the start," he said. "Tonight I was kind all over the place. I'm not controlling counts and I make mistakes and I put our bullpen in a bind. I know I'm a better pitcher than that."

NOTES, QUOTES

 

RHP Fernando Salas, who has 12 saves, was scored on for the sixth time in his last 12 outings when he surrendered a game-losing homer to Toronto RF Jose Bautista in the ninth inning. But manager Tony La Russa wasn't concerned. "He missed with a pitch and the guy hit it," said La Russa. "Why should I be concerned? He's done a great job." Salas has given up home runs in three of his last five outings after completing his first 25 without allowing a homer.

2B Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' top draft pick from the University of Hawaii, is expected to sign on Saturday and to be at Busch Stadium. Wong then is likely to join a short-season team in the system.

OF Jon Jay made his 38th start Friday night. Coupled with 37 appearances off the bench, Jay is the surprising leader among the Cardinals in games played. He has missed just two of the first 77.

The Cardinals, by losing to Toronto Friday, have lost at least once in St. Louis to every current team except the Texas Rangers, who never have played the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Manager Tony La Russa, responding to the recent carping coming notably from Milwaukee about the inequities of interleague play - the Brewers play both Boston and the New York Yankees - said, "I hear that junk all the time. We're playing three series against Philadelphia. So, for some of the clubs that don't like interleague … we have an extra series against Philadelphia. I think it's fair to say that playing one extra three-game series against Philadelphia is challenging."

Tony La Russa said that RHP Bryan Augenstein, optioned to Memphis after being taken off the disabled list, still figured in the club's plans. "The better he pitches, the sooner he gets back," said La Russa.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 10 - Most hits in a game surrendered by RHP Jake Westbrook in his two seasons with the Cardinals.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm going to figure it out. Just a frustrating night for me. That's kind of been the theme for me this year."

- RHP Jake Westbrook, after failing to finish the fifth inning Friday.

 

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

 

Sat. June 25 vs. BLUE JAYS: Jaime Garcia (6-2, 3.19) vs. Carlos Villanueva (4-1, 3.17) 6:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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