The Cardinals have two glaring team statistics that are not conducive to being considered an outstanding team, though they have been in first place in the National League Central Division from the first day of the season.
Of their nine losses on the road, four
of them have come in walk-off fashion, including Friday's 6-5 loss at
The last two games -- they also lost to San Francisco, 7-5, the day before, have been marked by Cardinals pitchers working behind in the count far too often -- they walked 15 -- and defensive miscues.
Salas walked the leadoff man in the ninth inning and, after a subsequent intentional walk loaded the bases, he passed catcher A. J. Ellis on four pitches to force home the lead run.
"The leadoff walk is something he's going to struggle with, as I do," said manager Mike Matheny.
But the Cardinals had given up a run in the seventh when they failed to turn a double play on right fielder Andre Ethier's grounder to second baseman Tyler Greene. Near the bag, Greene chose to underhand instead to shortstop Rafael Furcal for the force but Furcal threw the relay into the dugout behind first, putting Ethier at second.
First baseman James Loney's bloop single brought home the run after a walk to third baseman Adam Kennedy.
"It seems like when we make these mistakes on defense, it ends up costing us," said Matheny.
The end negated a dramatic pinch homer by Lance Berkman with two out in the ninth inning. It was Berkman's first homer of the season. He has missed most of it with a strained left calf.
OF/1B Allen Craig went on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain and RHP Kyle McClellan was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Their replacements were OF Adron Chambers, hitting .308 at Class AAA Memphis, and RHP Brandon Dickson, who was 2-3 with a 3.42 earned run average in eight AAA starts. Both were with the Cardinals last season and Chambers was on one of the postseason rosters.
RHP Kyle McClellan feared
he might need surgery and be out for the season. But he said, that after an exam
RF Carlos Beltran, who had been bothered by a sore right knee, made his first start in the field after missing four games. He appeared to move cautiously after a couple of balls hit to right center in the second inning. Both were doubles. Manager Mike Matheny thought Beltran was playing it safe on the first one but had gone hard after the second and that Beltran's gliding style was deceiving. Matheny said Beltran goes after balls "a whole lot better than it looks. It wasn't for lack of effort."
1B Matt Carpenter made his 18th start at that position, most on the team. He again contributed offensively with a single and a walk. 1B Lance Berkman, who delivered his first homer of the season as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth, had been three for 31 with 10 strikeouts against Los Angeles starter Ted Lilly.
LF Matt Holliday is heating up. Under .200 for much of April, Holliday has knocked in 15 runs this month and has hit three homers in the last four games, including a long two-run shot in the third on Friday.
By the Numbers:
15 - Number of walks issued by Cardinals pitchers in their last two games, covering 16 1/3 innings.
Quote to Note:
"The other managers are getting tired of me waiting till the 11th hour before I give them our lineup."
- Manager Mike Matheny, on his many wounded and walking wounded players, not knowing who can play from one day to the next.
RHP Kyle McClellan
(strained right ulnar collateral ligament) left the May 17 game and returned to
RF Carlos Beltran (sore right knee, plantar fasciitis in right foot) did not start May 14-17, though he pinch-hit three times. He returned to the lineup May 18.
CF Jon Jay (sprained right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 15.
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 sometime in May and probably won't pitch until at least June.
Link to boxscore: Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 5