Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/31/11

The Cardinals took game one in Milwaukee Tuesday night behind Edwin Jackson.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Not that long ago, the Cardinals had envisioned their Aug. 30-Sept. 1 series in Milwaukee being their chance to get back into the National League Central race. That probably isn't going to happen, but they played Tuesday night as if the game had huge importance.

Edwin Jackson delivered by far his best start for the Cardinals, walking no one and allowing just one run in seven innings. He didn't allow a hit to left fielder Ryan Braun or first baseman Prince Fielder, the 3-4 hitters in the Brewers' lineup.

And manager Tony La Russa mixed and matched four relievers as the Cardinals made two unearned runs in the fifth stand up for a 2-1 victory. The only bad news is that they still trail Milwaukee by 9 1/2 games.

The finish was somewhat improbable as the Cardinals survived two leadoff walks in the ninth, one by Marc Rzepczynski and the other by Fernando Salas.

But the Cardinals, who played a stellar defensive game, got a key out at third base on a bunt play. First baseman Albert Pujols, playing way in, called Salas off a bunt by Milwaukee shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and got a forceout at third. Third baseman Daniel Descalso, who had retreated to the bag, then fired to first for a potential double play, but second baseman Ryan Theriot couldn't control the one-bounce throw although he did keep the ball from rolling away and having a runner advance.

Pinch hitter Mark Kotsay then bounced to Theriot. He shoveled to strong-armed shortstop Rafael Furcal, who completed the game-ending double play with a rocket peg to first.

Jackson (4-2), winning on the road for the first time, made his third start this month against the Brewers. First, he allowed 10 earned runs in seven innings, then two in six innings, and on Tuesday he threw only 25 called balls out of 91 pitches as he gave up just one run in seven innings. Jackson was able to mix his changeup and a late breaking slider with a down-in-the-zone fastball.

"That's what he's capable of doing," said La Russa. "He's close to being very good. He's got a big arm and sometimes he tries to overpower his stuff." But, said La Russa, "I think he's going to have a lot of those in his career."

Somehow, the Cardinals won without any of the top five hitters in their lineup getting a hit in 17 at-bats. All six of their hits came from the bottom four in the order, including Jackson, whose run-scoring single in the fifth was his fourth in the three starts against Milwaukee.

Boxscore

NOTES, QUOTES

RF Lance Berkman, in whom the Texas Rangers were reported to have interest, has told Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak that he will not consider returning to the club as a free agent this winter if he is traded this week. "I don't want to be traded. I don't think they want me to trade me," Berkman said. "Obviously, Mo has an obligation as the general manager to listen. But I think myself and the Cardinals are on the same page." Berkman said he told Mozeliak, "If y'all plan on bringing me back next year, don't trade me."

Berkman hit second for the first time as a Cardinals. He mostly has hit fifth. But neither he nor any of the other hitters from 1 through 5 in the lineup had hits although CF Jon Jay did knock in one run with a sacrifice fly.

RHP Jason Motte didn't get the save; Fernando Salas did. But Motte, posting his 18th consecutive outing without allowing a run and 30th straight without permitting an earned run, got two key outs in the eighth, including a forceout grounder by dangerous Milwaukee LF Ryan Braun, whom Motte hit in the back during some back-and-forth earlier this month in Milwaukee.

CF Jon Jay, RF Lance Berkman and 1B Albert Pujols all made outstanding defensive plays for the Cardinals. Berkman and Jay took hits away from Braun and 1B Prince Fielder on back-to-back plays in the fourth. Pujols ran a long way to take in a foul fly over his shoulder and then playfully faked giving the ball to a fan before pulling it back. "I tried to make it more interesting," said Pujols, smiling. "They booed me the rest of the night."

RHP Edwin Jackson had his first no-walk game as a Cardinal, working seven innings. He also singled in a run on an 0-2 pitch in the fifth.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1- Runs allowed by the Cardinals' bullpen in its last 19 innings over six games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He has a heart like a warrior. When he comes in, it's either 'You're going to hit me or I'm going to save the game.' He's not going to walk too many guys."

- 1B Albert Pujols on closer Fernando Salas, who gained his 23rd save in 28 attempts after missing out on his last two save opportunities.

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

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. He began a rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.

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.

NEXT GAME

Wed., Aug. 31 at BREWERS: Jake Westbrook (10-7, 4.75) vs. Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37) 7:10 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM

<a href='http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/pages/video?UUID=40bf4b79-3fe5-43d5-960a-3a1d1c607cec&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Jay, Pujols help defeat Brewers 2-1'>Video: Jay, Pujols help defeat Brewers 2-1</a>
Jon Jay, Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols share their thoughts following the Cardinals' win.


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