Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/08/11

Thursday night brought soggy weather and a soggy play by the Cardinals in a home loss to Arizona.



The Cardinals combined spotty starting pitching, sloppy defense (three errors) and little offense on a rainy night Thursday at Busch Stadium. The result was predictable, a 4-1 loss to Arizona.


"The whole game was not a standout game," said manager Tony La Russa, whose club fell back into a first-place tie with Milwaukee in the National League Central.


Right-hander Kyle McClellan, who was 6-1 on May 19, is 6-6.


"The results aren't there," said McClellan. "I felt I pitched pretty well. I'm in a tough stretch. Tonight, it wasn't good enough."


McClellan trailed just 1-0 before the second of two rain delays -- the game was delayed 1 hour, 6 minutes in starting. But when he returned after 50 minutes, he missed his location on a couple of pitches in the sixth inning, and Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton deposited one of them over the center-field wall for a two-run homer that gave Arizona a cushion.


The Cardinals had just three hits but drew six walks, including four from Arizona starter Joe Saunders in five innings. "We had some missed opportunities," said La Russa. "You usually don't get away (with six walks), but they did tonight."


Two innings were key to the Cardinals. 


In the first, shortstop Ryan Theriot doubled and third baseman David Freese walked. But Albert Pujols, 1-for-9 since coming off the disabled list, flied out and left fielder Matt Holliday bounced into a double play.


After they had fallen behind 3-0 in the sixth, the Cardinals quickly scored as Freese and Pujols walked and Holliday doubled into the left-field corner. On a sloppy track, Pujols was held at third as Freese scored.


But Pujols stayed at third as right fielder Lance Berkman, nothing for his last 11, fanned and catcher Yadier Molina flied to deep left.




RHP Kyle McClellan is winless in seven starts since May 19, including a stint on the disabled list with a hip injury. Five of those starts have resulted in losses, including a 4-1 setback against Arizona on Thursday. He was trailing only 1-0 until a second rain delay, 50 minutes, interrupted his sixth inning. When he came back, he gave up a two-run homer to RF Justin Upton. "I was cruising along a little bit. The rain delay just came at the wrong time," said McClellan. But, he said, "If I didn't feel like I could (come back), I wouldn't have done it. They asked me to be honest about it. I could have easily given up the home run before."


LHP Jaime Garcia, 21-11 in the last two seasons, is believed to be close to agreeing to a four-year contract that would take him through his first year of free agency. He will be eligible for arbitration after this season. "If something happens, obviously, it's exciting, but I'm not really focusing on that right now," Garcia said. "I'm not going to lie to you. Some security is always good. Right now all I'm worried about is pitching and that's it." General manager John Mozeliak said, "Any conversations that we have are private.  Nothing is done until it's done. We will make an announcement when we have something to announce."


CF Colby Rasmus, who hit .213 in June and is hitting .174 in July, sat out against Arizona LHP Joe Saunders on Thursday. Rasmus, who fanned four times on Wednesday, was replaced by Jon Jay.


Having used seven relievers to work 8 2/3 innings on Wednesday, the Cardinals made a bullpen move. From Class AAA Memphis, they purchased RHP P.J. Walters, who had pitched for them in the last couple of seasons. Walters, who worked two nifty innings of relief Thursday, replaced RHP Brandon Dickson, who was optioned to Memphis after working 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday.


C Gerald Laird, healed from a broken right index finger, was taken off his injury rehabilitation assignment and activated. But rookie C Tony Cruz, who also plays third and first base, was kept as a third receiver and right-handed pinch-hitter. Left-handed hitting 1B Mark Hamilton was returned to Memphis.


BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Hits the last two games for 1B Albert Pujols since he came off the disabled list.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "If there's something going on, you guys will know. It's something private. I'm not saying yes or no, but if there is something going on at the right time you guys will find out." -- LHP Jaime Garcia, addressing the possibility that he soon will sign a contract extension.





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 began 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 was activated 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.


Fri., July 8 vs. DIAMONDBACKS: Kyle Lohse (8-5, 2.97) vs. Ian Kennedy (8-3, 3.38) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='La Russa on 4-1 loss to Arizona'>Video: La Russa on 4-1 loss to Arizona</a>
Tony TV: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa comments on Kyle McClellan's performance on Thursday.

<a href='' target='_new' title='McClellan on 4-1 defeat to Arizona'>Video: McClellan on 4-1 defeat to Arizona</a>
Kyle McClellan talks about his tough outing against the Diamondbacks on Thursday.

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