Cardinals can't finish job on TLR's big night

The Cardinals opened their homestand Friday night with a frustrating 12-inning loss to Atlanta after Tony La Russa's number 10 was retired.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Right fielder Carlos Beltran did all he could for the Cardinals Friday night. Enjoying his third two-homer night in the last couple of weeks, Beltran added a triple and a double but the Cardinals fizzled away bases-loaded situations in both the 10th and 11th innings before succumbing to the Atlanta Braves, 9-7, in 12 innings.

 

Beltran's two-homer game -- he drove in four runs -- was the 33rd of his career. Both were hit right-handed, including a 454-foot shot into Big Mac Land at Busch Stadium. He has nine homers left-handed and three right-handed and, with 31 runs batted in, he said he felt good at the plate from both sides.

 

"It happens a couple of times during the season when you feel that way," Beltran said. "I guess right now I'm going through one.

 

"Today I had a good day, but it doesn't mean anything."

 

Manager Mike Matheny said, "He tried to throw it all on his shoulders and he almost did it."

 

Matheny raised some eyebrows when he had catcher Yadier Molina sacrifice with runners at first and second and nobody out in the 10th inning. Matheny said he wanted to stay out of the double play and Molina executed the bunt successfully.

 

Rookie Matt Carpenter, who earlier had hit his second home run, was walked intentionally, to Matheny's surprise. But, with the bases loaded, he still had David Freese, one of his best clutch batsmen, available as a pinch hitter. Freese, however, grounded into a double play.

 

"I like that opportunity with David," said Matheny. "(The bunt) is a play that we'll do again tomorrow. It's a good play.

 

"When you get an opportunity to get people over, you do that. It's fundamental baseball. Every once in a while, we'll make a different play but for the most part in that situation we're going to bunt."

 

NOTES, QUOTES

LHP Jaime Garcia had his second straight poor start, right from the start. He allowed four runs in the first inning at Houston last Saturday and two on Friday in the first inning, plus three more in the second. Like on Saturday, he pitched better later in the game but manager Mike Matheny said, "It's hard to overcome those deficits."

C Yadier Molina, coming off a bruised left wrist he suffered on Tuesday, had two passed balls in the first inning. It was only the second time in his career he had done that, but Mike Matheny said Garcia's ball movement had something to do with both. "Sometimes it goes in the direction it's supposed and sometimes it doesn't," said Matheny. "Everything's fine with (Molina's) wrist."

1B Lance Berkman wasn't activated, still having felt a little sore the day before after testing his sprained left calf on Wednesday in Arizona.

"He wasn't going to be in there today anyhow," said manager Mike Matheny of Berkman facing Atlanta LHP Mike Minor. Berkman has been on the disabled list since April 19 and he jokingly said he didn't want to take away from the pre-game ceremonies in which former manager Tony La Russa's No. 10 was retired. "It's all about Tony," joked Berkman. "I didn't want to upstage him with my return to the game. I'm going to postpone it for a day or two and let everything calm back down."

RHP Kyle McClellan suffered the loss when he gave up a two-run, opposite-field homer by RF Jason Heyward on a 1-0 pitch. "It was off the plate," he said. "You get behind good hitters and it's going to hurt you. He's a good hitter and he didn't miss that one."

SS Rafael Furcal continues to give the Cardinals outstanding performance as a leadoff man. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games (20-for-43, .465) and maintained an on-base percentage of .423.

By the Numbers:

5- Times the Cardinals have hit back-to-back homers after RF Carlos Beltran and 1B Allen Craig connected in the fourth inning.

Quote to Note:

"It's not something that's going to be that much longer. I've already wasted three weeks of the season. Now that I've spent all this time on the DL, I want to make sure it's right before I come back."

- 1B Lance Berkman, on his strained left calf, which has kept him out since April 19.

MEDICAL WATCH

RHP Kyle Lohse (tight left hamstring) left his May 9 start. He will get an extra day of rest before his next start, May 15.

C Yadier Molina (bruised left hand) left the May 8 game, and he didn't play May 9. He returned May 11.

1B Lance Berkman (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He had difficulty when he attempted running May 3 but felt much better May 6 after running for about 10 minutes in the outfield. He fielded grounders May 9. He could have been activated May 11 but wasn't ready.

RHP Scott Linebrink (right shoulder capsulitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He felt tightness during an April 30 bullpen session, and he didn't appear close to a return.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He isn't likely to begin a real throwing program until May and probably won't pitch until at least June.

Link to boxscore: Atlanta 9, St. Louis 7 (12 innings)


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