Cards can't find runs in opening loss to Bucs

The St. Louis Cardinals lost to visiting Pittsburgh, scoring just one run for the second straight night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals have wasted some excellent pitching the last two nights.

 

Friday, right-hander Jake Westbrook didn't allow either of the two runs he allowed to score on a hit, the Pirates tallying on a wild pitch and a passed ball in the fourth inning. Westbrook, whose winning streak ended at five, suffered his ninth loss against 12 victories as he pitched 7 2/3 strong innings.

 

Yet another one-run loss -- they also lost 2-1 Thursday -- dropped the Cardinals to 12-21 in that category. They are 5-13 in two-run games, making them 17-34 (.333) in close games.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald, who had allowed an astounding 30 earned runs in his last 31 innings over six starts, held the Cardinals to none for six innings Friday night. After McDonald (11-5) departed, having permitted just two hits, the Cardinals nudged across a run in the seventh against Pittsburgh relief but that was it.

 

The Cardinals broke through with their run against right-hander Chris Resop in the seventh, but they probably should have had more. Right fielder Carlos Beltran singled and third baseman David Freese doubled, Beltran stopping at third.

 

With veteran backup Skip Schumaker, a .390 hitter with runners in scoring position, available, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny elected to let second baseman Daniel Descalso bat. Descalso, hitting a dreadful .103 with men in scoring position, flied to short left. The runners held.

 

A groundout up the middle by catcher Tony Cruz got the run home, but Pittsburgh then switched from one right-handed reliever to another and Juan Cruz retired shortstop Rafael Furcal on a popup. Furcal had been only 2 for 10 against Juan Cruz.

 

Matheny, questioned about his decision not to pinch hit for Descalso, said he had the man he wanted at the plate. But Descalso is 6 for 59 with men in scoring position, and he is 3 for his last 33 overall.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

C Yadier Molina still is sidelined by back stiffness, but he is optimistic about returning this weekend. "Yesterday, I couldn't swing. (Friday) I was swinging way better. Hopefully tomorrow I can give you good news," he said. "It's hard because you want to be part of this big series. But at the same time, you have to think about your health. You can't go out there 50 percent. You have to go out there 100 percent."

1B Lance Berkman, sidelined with soreness in both knees, is scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Memphis on Wednesday at the start of a nine-game homestand for the Redbirds that will take them close to the Sept. 1 date for roster expansion. Berkman declined a minor league assignment the last time he was on the disabled list, when he was recovering from right knee surgery, and he encountered more problems when playing at the major league level. He also went 6 for 33 in that time. Berkman, 36, has had only 75 at-bats this year.

RHP Lance Lynn, who has warmed up earlier in his last two starts to try to avoid his first-inning problems, will make the start Saturday for the Cardinals. Lynn has given up three runs in the first inning in three of his last four starts. "It's been a problem my whole life, since I was 10 years old," Lynn said. "I have always been someone who pitched better late in games." Lynn said he would go back to his normal warmup routine on Saturday.

RHP Jake Westbrook pitched 7 2/3 good innings and allowed two runs in the fourth inning, neither scoring on a hit. One came home on a wild pitch and the other on a passed ball. "It's nobody's fault but my own. I just got outpitched," said Westbrook. Westbrook said the wild pitch was a "terrible sinker that landed about 55 feet away." The passed ball came on a changeup. "Actually, it was a really good changeup. It was a tough pitch to handle," he said.

1B Mark Hamilton, who was at Class AAA Memphis, was taken off the 40-man roster and released. The roster spot can be used for the addition of LHP Jaime Garcia, who will come off the disabled list to pitch on Sunday. Hamilton hit .231 with 15 homers this year at Memphis.

By the Numbers:

17 - Years since the Cardinals lost a game without an RBI by their opponent.

Quote to Note:

"He establishes the zone, but that doesn't mean we have to like it."

- Manager Mike Matheny, not wild about home plate umpire Lance Barrett's strike zone. Third-base coach Jose Oquendo was ejected during the game for objecting.

MEDICAL WATCH

LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 16. After further examination, it was determined that he has tearing in his rotator cuff. He threw 40 pitches from 60 feet on flat ground for the first time in a month July 4. He threw live batting practice July 25. He began a rehab assignment July 30 in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and he was slated to make four starts before a potential return to the Cardinals in mid-August. The fourth start was Aug. 14. He will be added to the roster Aug. 19 to face Pittsburgh, with impressive rookie RHP Joe Kelly going to the bullpen.

C Yadier Molina (sore left hand and elbow) did not play Aug. 12. He incurred some mid-back tightness and sat out Aug. 14-17.

1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He is scheduled to start a rehab assignment at Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 22.

RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. He underwent season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. He did some light tossing from 40 to 60 feet on Aug. 16.

Link to boxscore: Pittsburgh 2 at St. Louis 1


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