The Cardinals, in effect, could have put the hammer down on the Pittsburgh Pirates' wild-card hopes the last two nights. But, after winning by one run on Monday, they failed to score a single run the next two nights, losing to right-hander James McDonald and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who beat them 5-0 Wednesday.
And now the Cardinals lead by the
Pirates by just one game and
Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez drove in seven runs himself the last two nights, including a three-run homer off a hanging breaking ball from right-handed rookie Joe Kelly in the third inning Wednesday. Alvarez, in 15 games against the Cardinals, has hit .397 with seven of his 26 homers and 23 of his 70 RBI. He is hitting .225 against the rest of the major leagues.
In 13 innings against
"This offense should never be shut out," said hitting coach Mark McGwire. "I'm all for tipping the hat if the pitcher is dealing. But these last two nights, (the pitchers) were very hittable.
"Getting shut out like that ... I'm always troubled by that with this offense because our offense should never be shut out, especially by these two guys."
In the series, the Cardinals had only one hit that drove in a run with a man in scoring position and that was by right-hander Kyle Lohse, who was hitting .080 at the time.
C Yadier Molina, who
missed Wednesday's game after suffering strains to his upper back, left shoulder
and neck and also a massive headache when he was plowed into by
CF Jon Jay drew three walks in his first three plate appearances Wednesday. The Cardinals, however, have drawn only four other walks as a team in the first six games of their 10-game trip.
RHP Trevor Rosenthal, brought up earlier in the day, reeled off three impressive scoreless innings of relief, fanning three. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said, "He was impressive. Very composed. Nice complement of pitches. Incredible life (on the ball). We're going to fit him in any way we can."
RHP Joe Kelly, even though he gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings and had just come back from the bullpen, seems in line to make his next start on Monday at home against New York rather than perhaps 13-game winner Lance Lynn, who has been exiled to the bullpen. "Overall, I thought his stuff had a lot of life," manager Mike Matheny said of Kelly. "You never want these guys walking on eggshells every time they go out for a start. That's not right."
RHP Chris Carpenter, after throwing his first bullpen session in more than a month on Tuesday following surgery to relieve a nerve problem affecting his right shoulder, did some light tossing on Wednesday and said he felt good. Manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter was " a little sore, which is expected. But the good kind of sore."
RHP Brandon Dickson was
optioned to Class AAA Memphis when the Cardinals recalled RHP Trevor Rosenthal.
Dickson, 27, had no decisions and a 7.11 ERA in four appearances with
INF Ryan Jackson was
optioned to Class AAA Memphis, and the Cardinals recalled C Bryan Anderson to
give them insurance behind the plate with Yadier Molina nursing back, shoulder
and neck injuries.
By the Numbers:
21 - Consecutive
scoreless innings with which the Cardinals finished their series with
Quote to Note:
"You've got to give credit to the other team. But, we've said it too many times. This offense shouldn't give too many people too much credit because we should be able to put a lot of runs up."
- Manager Mike Matheny after his team had been blanked for the second night in succession.
C Yadier Molina (strained upper back, left shoulder and neck) was injured in a home-plate collision Aug. 28. Concussion tests were negative, but he didn't play on Aug. 29.
3B David Freese (bruised left wrist) was hit by a pitch Aug. 24, and he didn't play Aug. 25-27. He returned to the lineup Aug. 28.
1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 24, and he is expected to be activated Sept. 1.
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. He underwent surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
Link to boxscore: Pittsburgh 5, St. Louis 0