Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/21/11

Former St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen was again a big part of a Mets' win over his old club - this time on Wednesday night in New York.


The Cardinals have been beaten twice in a row, in a sense, by former St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen.

Isringhausen saved Tuesday night's 4-2 victory by the Mets over the Cardinals and he was the winning pitcher on Wednesday night in a 6-5 Mets victory in 10 innings over the Cardinals.

But the bigger issue was that the Cardinals lost on a walk-off hit for the ninth time this season when right-handed reliever Fernando Salas, working into his second inning, surrendered a first-pitch, one-out home run to center fielder Angel Pagan in the 10th.

It was the third time Salas, who has 17 saves, had walked off the field with a loss.

Earlier, right-hander Jason Motte was unable to close out the eighth. Coming in with a runner third and two out, Motte, the worst in the bullpen at stranding inherited runners, permitted a game-tying single by New York catcher Josh Thole.

Motte has allowed 17-of-39 inherited runners to score this season.

Thole is a left-handed hitter, but the Cardinals don't seem to have much confidence in their left-handed relief. Motte, on the other hand, is being solved at a .340 clip by left-handed hitters.

"Obviously, I didn't do my job," Motte said. Of the sinker he threw, Motte said, "It didn't really do anything."

Manager Tony La Russa pulled right-handed reliever Lance Lynn for another right-hander, Motte. "It looked like Lynn's stuff was changing," La Russa said. "I thought it was a good time for a fresh arm."

La Russa said he didn't want to use a left-handed reliever to face Thole because he feared the Mets would go with a veteran right-handed pinch hitter like Scott Hairston or Ronny Paulino.

The Cardinals, though losing their third game in succession and fourth in five games on this trip, did some good things offensively. In the first three innings, they delivered three consecutive runners from third base with under two outs.

They did not come through, however, in a similar spot in the seventh when pinch hitter Tony Cruz grounded out on the first pitch with a runner at third and one out, and then pinch hitter Albert Pujols popped up.

Backup catcher Gerald Laird delivered what could have been a game-winning hit in the eighth when he beat out a bunt with a runner at third, breaking a 4-4 tie.

Right-hander Kyle McClellan, winless in his last eight starts, had a decent effort, but allowed a two-run home run in the fifth to right fielder Carlos Beltran after the Cardinals failed to turn a double play on shortstop Jose Reyes, and third baseman David Freese was unable to track down a foul ball into the stands.

McClellan second-guessed himself for his approach to Beltran on a 3-and-2 pitch.

"If you walk him, it could lead to bigger things, but he's a pretty good player," McClellan said. "I made a mistake to the guy you don't want to make a mistake to. Sooner or later he was waiting on you to make a mistake and I made one."



The Cardinals hit into two more double plays on Wednesday, raising their National League-leading total to 105, but 1B Albert Pujols, who leads the league individually at 22, didn't hit into any of them. He didn't start, but was 0-for-2 after coming into the game as a pinch hitter. "Just use my name; I know you want to use my name," Pujols said of the double play epidemic. "That doesn't bother me. When you put the ball in play, those are the chances that you're going to take. That doesn't bother me putting the ball in play, that's what it's all about. I prefer to do that than a guy going out there to strike out 100, 200 times."

INF Nick Punto, who had been having elbow problems, decided to throw as hard as he could a couple of days ago to see what would happen. What happened, acccording to Punto, was that he broke loose some scar tissue and he hasn't had any pain since. Punto, who was thought headed to the disabled list for a third time because he couldn't play all three infield positions, will be in the lineup at second base on Thursday. "It turned out great," Punto said of the strategy to "air it out," a notion suggested by his father. Punto fininshed Wednesday's game at second.

2B Skip Schumaker, restored to the leadoff spot, reached base in all three of his plate appearances on Wednesday. That may be a sign of things to come because SS Ryan Theriot, the normal leadoff man who didn't start on Wednesday, has had only only one hit in his last four starts.

1B Lance Berkman drove in a run with a single in the third inning, marking the first time since June 30 he had driven in a run without a home run. In that time, Berkman had had 10 RBI on seven home runs.

RHP Kyle McClellan is winless since May 19, although he pitched a respectable six innings, giving up four runs, on Wednesday. McClellan, who couldn't hold an early four-run lead, allowed a game-tying home run on a full-count fastball to Mets RF Carlos Beltran in the fifth. He said, in retrospect, he should have thrown a curveball or certainly something off the plate because, with the runner going from first on the 3-and-2 pitch, it was as if the runner was already at second with a base open anyway. "I made the wrong choice," McClellan said. Manager Tony La Russa said: "I'm sure he'd like to have that one back. He didn't want to throw a fastball where he threw it."

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 - Number of stolen bases by the Cardinals since June 9.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think you want to use (Fernando) Salas there. Evidently. Because I didn't use him."

- Manager Tony La Russa, on not bringing in RHP Fernando Salas, his closer, with the tying run at third and two out in the eighth. RHP Jason Motte entered instead and allowed the game-tying hit.





INF Nick Punto (sore right elbow) left the July 16 game, and he might be placed on the disabled list. He pinch-hit July 17 but didn't play July 18-19. Punto missed the season's first 16 games after having abdominal surgery in February, then missed 36 games from mid-May to late June due to a right forearm strain. Punto decided to throw hard and see what happened, and broke loose some scar tissue. He has felt fine since and was scheduled to start at second base July 21.

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 began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down until late August or early September.

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


Thurs., July 21 vs. METS: Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.26) vs. Jon Niese (8-7, 3.88) 11:10 a.m. (FOX Sports Midwest, MLB Network, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='La Russa: &#39;It&#39;s a tough loss&#39;' >Video: La Russa: &#39;It&#39;s a tough loss&#39;</a>
Tony TV: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa shares his thoughts following the 6-5 loss to the Mets Wednesday night.

<a href='' target='_new' title='McClellan, Motte fall behind Mets 6-5' >Video: McClellan, Motte fall behind Mets 6-5</a>
Kyle McClellan and Jason Motte share their thoughts on the tough loss.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories