Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/20/11

The Cardinals suffered their 12th walkoff loss of the 2011 season on Friday at Wrigley Field.


   Another city. Another walk-off loss.

   The Cardinals, already assured of a non-winning trip at 1-3 with two games remaining, squandered a 4-1 lead on Friday and lost to the Cubs 5-4 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field. It was their major league-high 12th walk-off loss of the season.

   Left-hander Jaime Garcia offered up a much better start than he had in his previous three. He gave up only two runs over the first six innings before he was removed in the seventh after consecutive triples on balls misplayed by right fielder Lance Berkman and then center fielder Jon Jay.

   On the first ball, Berkman came in a step and then tried to retreat but slipped. Jay ran in two or three steps before realizing his mistake on a liner by pinch hitter Blake DeWitt. "Those balls are not routine plays," said manager Tony La Russa. "But they are balls that should have been outs."

   Right-hander Jason Motte, the star of an erratic, enigmatic Cardinals bullpen, turned in a brilliant outing, his 25th consecutive appearance without allowing an earned run. He stranded a runner at third in the seventh with a strikeout and a groundout.

   But Motte was the only reliever to do his job. Left-hander Arthur Rhodes, who generally has been ineffective after being signed some 10 days ago, walked the only man he faced, Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena, who had been 0-for-10 with five strikeouts against Rhodes.

   Pena then scored the tying run in the eighth on a double down the third-base line by catcher Geovany Soto on a fastball over the plate from Cardinals right-hander Kyle McClellan.

   In the 10th, right-hander Octavio Dotel got ahead of pinch hitter Tyler Colvin at 0-2 but then hung a pitch, and Colvin singled to win the game for the Cubs.

   The offense can't be absolved, though. The Cardinals had only one hit, an eighth-inning single by Jay, after third baseman David Freese's eighth homer in the fourth. And Jay was thrown out trying to steal. The middle of the lineup -- first baseman Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Berkman -- was 0-for-9 although Pujols was walked twice. The first two hitters, shortstop Rafael Furcal and center fielder Allen Craig, also were hitless in seven total at-bats, making it 0-for-16 from the top.



   --OF Allen Craig started in center field for the first time in his career Friday in smallish Wrigley Field. In his five innings, he went 0-for-3 but made a diving catch to save a hit and a run in his only official fielding chance.

   --RF Lance Berkman, one of the surprises of the season, said he would like to come back next year and would even take a one-year contract. "I've absolutely loved it here" in St. Louis, Berkman said. "Everything about the city and the team has been what I had hoped. I'd love to come back, but I also recognize they have some big decisions to make with some pretty big guys. Right now, I'm not assuming anything. I've made a lot of money. I've had personal success and been a part of some great teams. The one thing I haven't done is be part of a world championship. I'm going to be 36. I'm not going to play just to play."

   --LHP Jaime Garcia doesn't have a win since July 23. That streak covers five starts although he deserved to win on Friday, when he gave up just two earned runs in the first six innings. "He did a good job," said manager Tony La Russa. "He deserved a little better." Garcia said he and pitching coach Dave Duncan had worked on adjusting Garcia's mechanics and confidence.

   --RHP Jason Motte has gone almost two months (June 23) without allowing an earned run. Getting three outs on Friday, Motte ran off his 25th straight outing without an earned run. In that time he has stranded 22 of 25 runners and fanned 15 while walking two in 18 1/3 innings. "He's on a roll," said manager Tony La Russa. "It's a shame to come in here and lose (considering Motte's performance)."

   --The Cardinals turned four double plays, three on infield grounders and another when SS Rafael Furcal and 2B Ryan Theriot deked Cubs LF Tony Campana, who was stealing second in the ninth. Campana, sliding and then not knowing where the ball was, was doubled off first easily on a fly to center.

"That's why it's really a discouraging loss," said La Russa. "If we had just added a run or two ... "

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Home runs this season by C Yadier Molina, who reached his career high with a two-run drive in the second inning. He has an eight-game hitting streak.   

QUOTE TO NOTE: "One year suits me fine. I just want it to be a good situation. I've played in good situations pretty much my entire career. I don't want to change that now."

-- RF Lance Berkman on his hopes of playing for the Cardinals next year.




RHP Edwin Jackson (right hamstring cramp) left his Aug. 14 start early but said the next day that it isn't a problem. Jackson will have an extra day of rest before his next scheduled start Aug. 20 in Chicago.

RHP Lance Lynn (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10.

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.

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.


Sat., Aug. 20 at CUBS: Edwin Jackson (9-8, 4.04) vs. Matt Garza (5-9, 3.80) 3:10 p.m. CDT (FOX Network, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

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