Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/07/11

The Cardinals came back from an eight-run deficit, but lost to the Reds in 13 innings Wednesday night.



A loss was almost like a win for the Cardinals on Wednesday night. The Cardinals lost 9-8 to the Cincinnati Reds in 13 innings but overcame an eight-run lead the Reds carried into the sixth inning before falling.

After they scored two runs in the sixth, the Cardinals closed the deficit to 8-7 with a five-run seventh. That inning started with left fielder Matt Holliday's 13th homer -- his third in two nights -- and continued with relief pitcher Brandon Dickson singling and scoring in his first major league at-bat. First baseman Albert Pujols, getting his only hit in six at-bats in his return from the disabled list, bounced a run-scoring single to cut the deficit to one.

Jon Jay, coming off the bench with Pujols returning to the lineup and Lance Berkman going back to right field, tied the game at 8-8 in the ninth with leadoff homer off Reds closer Francisco Cordero.

Jay, leading off the inning, said he was just trying to hit the ball up the middle.

"Same thing I'm always trying to do," said Jay, whose homer was his seventh.

Ultimately the Reds won the game against Raul Valdes, the seventh Cardinals pitcher. But the Cardinals had plenty of heroes, including Daniel Descalso, who had four hits.

"We're down 8-0. It's hard to come back from that in Little League, let alone the big leagues," said Descalso, who like many of his teammates wasn't all that disappointed with the defeat.

The big issue early on was Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, who gave up five runs on his first 12 pitches in the first inning, including allowing two home runs and a two-run triple.

"I put us in a huge hole in the first five hitters of the game," said Westbrook. "Every ball they hit was up in the zone."

The three homers given up by Westbrook tied a career high.


1B Albert Pujols, who had been out since June 20 with a fractured left wrist, returned to action and went 1-for-6 but hit several balls hard. "It was good to be back," he said. "I was pretty excited the way I swung the bat. The worst swing I took tonight I got a base-hit RBI (in the seventh inning)."

LHP Trever Miller gave up Reds 3B Scott Rolen's two-run homer in the fifth inning. Miller hasn't had a very good year, or good last two years, but the homer was the first he had allowed in 77 appearances (covering 41 1/3 innings) since May 22, 2010.

The last time the Cardinals rallied from being eight runs down also came against Cincinnati on May 12, 2002, when the Cardinals won 10-8. Though the comeback wasn't enough Wednesday, 1B Albert Pujols said, "That was awesome. For us to be a winning team, we're going to have to do things like that. We didn't win the game and that's a little disappointing, but we're not going to give up."

Manager Tony La Russa said he wouldn't mind if Pujols was added to the All-Star team and had to go Phoenix next week to play, rather than spending the four-day All-Star break inactive. "If he needs playing time, I'm not sure four days off would be advantageous," La Russa said. "That's not all that great for him. If he had a chance to play Tuesday, I'd be all for it."

C Gerald Laird, out since May 23 with a broken right index finger, might rejoin the Cardinals on Thursday after completing a brief rehab assignment. In two games with Class AAA Memphis, Laird went 3-for-7 with two walks.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (right rotator cuff irritation) will start a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on Thursday. Manager Tony La Russa hopes Sanchez will be able to rejoin the Cardinals at the start of the second half, July 15 in Cincinnati.

   BY THE NUMBERS: .078 - Left-handed-hitting 3B Daniel Descalso's average against left-handed pitching this season before he singled home a run against Cincinnati LHP Bill Bray in the seventh inning Wednesday.

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "My dad always told me, 'If you're not nervous, you're not ready.'"

- 1B Albert Pujols, on his anxiety at returning to the lineup for the first time since June 19. Pujols went 1-for-6.





LHP Brian Tallet (strained right intercostal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He was injured while sneezing.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He threw a bullpen session July 4, and he will begin a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7, and he could return to the Cardinals right after the All-Star break.

OF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8.

C Gerald Laird (broken right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23. He will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 5, and he could be activated as soon as July 7.

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 in late June.



Thu., July 7 vs. DIAMONDBACKS: Kyle McClellan (6-5, 4.27) vs. Joe Saunders (5-7, 4.04) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='La Russa on 9-8 loss'>Video: La Russa on 9-8 loss</a>
Tony TV: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sounds off on the Cardinals comeback Wednesday in the close loss.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Jay, Cardinals come up short'>Video: Jay, Cardinals come up short</a>
Jon Jay shares his thoughts on the loss Wednesday and Kyle McClellan looks forward to his Thursday start.

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