Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/27/11

Help is on the way after Toronto swept the Cardinals in St. Louis over the weekend.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals completed one of their worst homestands in a while, bowing to the Toronto Blue Jays and left-hander Ricky Romero 5-0 on Sunday.

Toronto, which had scored a total of only three runs in four straight interleague losses entering the series, outscored the Cardinals 16-7 in sweeping the three-game set. It was just the second time that the Cardinals had been swept at Busch Stadium III in an interleague series. Kansas City won three in a row there in June 2008.

Counting earlier series against Kansas City and Philadelphia on the longest home stand to date, the Cardinals finished 3-6 and went from one game off the Milwaukee Brewers' pace in the National League Central Division to three games behind.

The Cardinals' offense mustered just three singles, one of them a bloop, and a gift double off Romero.

The Cardinals are off Monday before starting a six-game interleague trip to Baltimore and Tampa Bay. But they will leave without two rookies, outfielder Andrew Brown and infielder Pete Kozma, who both were optioned to Class AAA Memphis.

Scheduled to replace them on the big-league roster for the Baltimore series are third baseman David Freese and infielder Nick Punto, who have spent the last week or so on minor league rehabilitation assignments.

Related article: "Reeling Cardinals to Activate Freese and Punto"

The Cardinals are only three games over .500 (41-38) for the first time since May 25.

"We're not playing all that well," said manager Tony La Russa. "We've just got to play better. Hit better, play better, manage better, all that stuff. We've got to improve our execution."

NOTES, QUOTES

The Cardinals had two runners on base in only one inning. Rookie RF Andrew Brown was credited with a double in the fifth inning when his fly ball landed between two Toronto outfielders and CF Colby Rasmus, instructed to "get the runner over," bunted Brown to third. But rookie C Tony Cruz swung at a low pitch and grounded to third and RHP Kyle McClellan, after an intentional walk, fanned. "When you only create an opportunity or two, you're not doing enough offensively," said manager Tony La Russa.

3B David Freese (broken left hand) and INF Nick Punto (right forearm strain) apparently completed their rehabilitation assignments on Sunday and are scheduled to join the team and the roster Tuesday in Baltimore.

"So far, the reports are very positive on both guys," said La Russa. "We could use some help and I think some help is coming."

1B Albert Pujols has missed six games so far with his fractured left wrist and the Cardinals are 1-5, with the offense having scored more than three runs in only two of the games and having been blanked twice. "Guys are working the at-bats," manager Tony La Russa said. "Can we be better? Yes. Are we trying hard? Yes."

RHP Kyle McClellan, though he pitched well for five innings, suffered his third straight loss. Counting his time on the disabled list, McClellan (6-4) hasn't won since May 19. Since June 3, the four other starters—LHP Jaime Garcia and RHPs Jake Westbrook, Chris Carpenter and Kyle Lohse—have won just two games, one each by Carpenter and Westbrook.

The Cardinals' three-game sweep by Toronto represented the first time they had lost three games in a row at home this season. They also have dropped four of their last five series overall.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 4-5 - The Cardinals' interleague record with six games remaining.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't have much margin for error when you don't have Albert."

- LF Matt Holliday, on the state of the offense without injured 1B Albert Pujols.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

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 is expected to be activated June 28.

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 is expected to be activated June 28.

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 (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.

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. He was scheduled to play catch on flat ground June 27.

NEXT GAME

 

Mon., June 27: OPEN DATE

Tue., June 28 at ORIOLES: Kyle Lohse (7-4, 2.91) vs. Zach Britton (6-5, 3.19) 6:05 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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