Sometimes managers make moves that don't work. Other times, they don't make a move and it doesn't work. The latter is what happened in the seventh inning of a tie game Friday, a game the Cardinals ultimately lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-6.
La Russa, with right-handed and left-handed relievers warming, allowed right-hander Kyle Lohse to face right-handed hitting pinch hitter Ryan Roberts and left-handed hitting second baseman Kelly Johnson. Roberts singled to load the bases with one out. Johnson hit a grand slam to unload them.
With the Diamondbacks having worthy right-handed pinch hitters available in Willie Bloomquist, Xavier Nady and Wily Mo Pena, La Russa didn't feel comfortable bringing in a left-handed reliever to face Johnson. Left-handed relief is not the Cardinals' strong suit anyway.
Though Lohse blamed himself, La Russa took the hit.
"There's no explanation other than obviously I thought Kyle could get one (Roberts) and then the other (Johnson) and he didn't get either one," said La Russa. "By the definition that you operate under, it becomes a bad decision. I'll take responsibility. The reality is that if a decision doesn't work ... bad decision."
The ball didn't get over the fence by much, but Lohse said, "It was a home run. Four runs. It cost us the game."
Since he won his seventh game on May 29, Lohse has allowed four or more runs in five of his seven starts, winning only one.
"I don't know what it is," said Lohse, "but I'm just not doing what I was doing earlier, so it will be nice to get away from baseball for a couple of days (during the All-Star break) and recharge.
"I just haven't been as
consistent as I need to be, and that's the bottom line."
RF Lance Berkman extended his
National League home run lead by popping his 24th of the season. At that point,
Berkman's last four hits and six of his last seven since July 2 had been home
runs. His 351st career homer moved him into fourth place past Chili
Manager Tony La Russa,
saying he didn't recall ever making the mistake, submitted a different lineup to
the umpires and the Diamondbacks than the one that took the field. His card at
home plate had C Yadier Molina on it even though La Russa intended to give
Molina the night off and have Gerald Laird catch. Once the inning was over,
RHP Kyle Lohse batted eighth Friday. The Cardinals are 4-6 this year when manager Tony La Russa hits the pitcher eighth.
C Gerald Laird made his first start since May 19, three days before he suffered a broken right index finger. The Cardinals are 9-2 in Laird's 11 starts.
INF Daniel Descalso made his first start at shortstop as a major-leaguer and his first since 2009 at Class AAA Memphis. Manager Tony La Russa determined that regular SS Ryan Theriot needed a day off and also that backup INF Nick Punto wasn't ready to make the long throw from the hole after having some forearm problems that put him on the disabled list for six weeks. Descalso, a valuable reserve who actually is third on the team in games played (83 out of 90), has made 46 starts at third base and nine at second.
Descalso, a left-handed hitter, had been 3-for-38 against left-handed pitching until Wednesday night. He is 3 for his last 4 now, including two hits Friday. One was a two-run double that gave him 13 runs batted in this season with two outs and runners in scoring position.
OF/INF Allen Craig, out since June 7 with a broken right kneecap, has suffered some atrophy in his right quadriceps because he went so long without running on it. But Craig said he has begun hitting and running as he rebuilds strength in the leg and is hoping for a rehabilitation assignment sometime after the All-Star break.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 - Home runs by LF Matt Holliday in his last four games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I tried to back up a pretty good changeup … with another good one. We were trying to get a groundball. You can't get a groundball when you throw a ball up over the middle."
- RHP Kyle Lohse, on giving up a game-losing grand slam to Arizona 2B Kelly Johnson in the seventh inning Friday.
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.
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.
VIDEOS FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Tony TV: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa reviews the 7-6 defeat against the Diamondbacks Friday night.
Hear from Kyle Lohse after the 7-6 loss against Arizona Friday night.