Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/05/11

The Cardinals' catchers fought, David Freese suffered a concussion, but the team won in Miami Thursday.



David Freese was fortunate to emerge with merely a mild concussion and a contusion on his head Thursday after being hit on the left side of his batting helmet by a pitch from Florida's Clay Hensley.

Freese painfully knocked in the go-ahead run in the Cardinals' 7-4 win over Florida because the bases were loaded when he was hit in the third inning.

Teammate Matt Holliday said, "You shouldn't have to take a lump on the head to get a game-winning RBI."

Freese, who said he couldn't really see for about 10 seconds after he got hit, immediately left the game. He was a little dizzy afterward, but he didn't expect to have to go on the disabled list, even the new seven-day version.

"I'll be in there against Milwaukee (on Tuesday)," he said.

Holliday, who was plunked, harmlessly, in the left forearm just ahead of Freese in the third, hit a three-run homer in the first inning. Holliday's homer was his third in the last four games, and Albert Pujols, who had three hits, belted his 25th, a solo shot, in the fourth.

Right-hander Kyle Lohse didn't really take advantage of the largesse, giving up three runs in the Florida first and skating out of danger a couple of other times before he was lifted after three innings.

But right-hander Kyle McClellan (9-6), just moved to the bullpen from the rotation, did benefit. McClellan, who had struggled in two of his first three relief outings, worked three scoreless innings to gain his second victory in three days.

After McClellan, impressive rookie Lance Lynn, Jason Motte and Fernando Salas also delivered solid relief work as manager Tony La Russa went through seven pitchers for the second time in three days. The Cardinals won both games, one in Milwaukee, one in Florida, with Salas gaining his 20th save in 23 chances in the opener against the Marlins.



Manager Tony La Russa, having seen 1B Albert Pujols hit in the left hand on a ball that was up near his head, said he felt "concern, anger and frustration" when he saw 3B David Freese hit in the left side of his helmet by Florida's Clay Hensley.

"It (happens) way too often," La Russa said. "Not enough guys have enough command to try to pitch (inside). Just get the ball down. (Freese) already broke his hand (when hit by a pitch in Atlanta on May 1). If it was little lower, this would have hit his cheekbone."

C Yadier Molina, who had a bruised right hand anyway, accepted his five-game suspension for bumping and spewing spittle on the face of plate umpire Rob Drake on Tuesday after Molina was ejected for disputing a third strike. The suspension will cover the Cardinals' four games in Florida and the first game of a home series with Milwaukee, but Molina should be ready for the final two games of the set against the NL Central leaders.

If Molina had appealed, the final decision, whatever it might have been, could have cost him all three games of the crucial Milwaukee series.

Molina said, "I feel sorry for everything that happened. I take full responsibility for my actions. I just want to move on and try to put it in the past. … I was looking at it as, 'Take it right away, because later on, you want to be part of the (pennant) race.'"

Manager Tony La Russa held a closed-door meeting covering several topics before his team began its pregame workout Thursday night. One of the issues was the suspension handed down to Molina. Another was relative to an animated argument catchers Gerald Laird and Molina got into at the team hotel, the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., late Wednesday night after the club's late arrival from Milwaukee. No punches were reported thrown in the dispute, which quickly was mediated by 1B Albert Pujols.

"It was a long, hot day," said La Russa, referencing Wednesday's 10-5 loss at Milwaukee before the team traveled. "And when you talk about a long, hot day, there's frustration. But there wasn't anything. They hugged each other. They're friends. It's just one of those things that happens. It's a long trip. There was no fight. They just got into an argument a little bit."

The Cardinals are making their last regular-season visit to Sun Life Stadium in Miami this weekend, but they are scheduled to play the first regular-season game at the Florida Marlins' new ballpark next April 4. The Cardinals, who share spring training facilities at Jupiter, Fla., with the Marlins, are scheduled to play just one season-opening game, on a Wednesday, in Miami before moving on to a weekend series in Milwaukee. The Cardinals then would return to face the Marlins in a more extended series later.

With their win Thursday, the Cardinals raised their record in Miami to 42-27, tops for any visiting National League team.

RHP Kyle Lohse, who was yanked after three innings Thursday, has just two wins in his last 11 starts. He said a middle finger issue he had had on his pitching hand is not to blame. "I'm at a loss for what happened tonight," Lohse said. "I'm not happy about it."

BY THE NUMBERS: 30 - Multi-hit games for 1B Albert Pujols, tying him with LF Matt Holliday and INF Ryan Theriot for the team lead.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It sounded like the ball hit a watermelon."

- RF Lance Berkman, on the pitch that hit 3B David Freese on the left side of his batting helmet. Berkman initially didn't think it had been that serious, but Freese suffered a mild concussion.




3B David Freese (mild concussion, head contusion) left the Aug. 4 game. He hopes to be back by Aug. 9.

INF Nick Punto (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list July 29.

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. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31.

OF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 23.

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.


Fri., Aug. 5 at MARLINS: Jake Westbrook (9-5, 4.92) vs. Ricky Nolasco (8-7, 3.92) 6:10 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='Cards on victory'>Video: Cards on victory</a>
Tony TV: Manager Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols discuss Thursday's 7-4 win and Pujols' 25th home run.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Freese out'>Video: Freese out</a>
Cardinals' third baseman David Freese talks about his early exit after a wild pitch.

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