A Cardinals staff that had given up 10 or more runs in five of the club's past 15 games, including Wednesday's 14-4 drubbing by the Braves, received a potential transfusion after the game when it was announced that right-hander Jeff Weaver, who had been designated for assignment by the Angels, had been acquired for power-hitting minor league outfielder Terry Evans.
Weaver was due about $4.15 million on his $8.3 million salary the rest of the season, and the Angels are believed to be paying half of that figure or more.
Weaver, who will be 30 next month, was having an awful year with the Angels. He was 3-10 with a 6.29 ERA in 16 starts and had given up 114 hits and 18 home runs in only 88 2/3 innings. But, in the two previous seasons, he had won 13 and 14 games with the Dodgers. His career record is 81-97, and opposing batters have hit .272 against him.
Weaver is expected to join the Cardinals in Houston this weekend. At some point in the near future, manager Tony La Russa said, he will go into a rotation that has had an 8.30 ERA for the last 15 games.
REPLAY: It took Jeff Suppan five starts to go from 99 to 100 wins in his big-league career. After three subsequent starts, he still is at 100 after he and the Cardinals lost 14-4 to the Braves on Wednesday.
Suppan was tagged for five runs in both the first and fourth innings Wednesday as he had difficulty throwing his breaking ball for strikes. He allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Scott Rolen and Hector Luna both homered, but the Cardinals still have been outhomered 101-82 for the season.
--1B Albert Pujols admitted that for the Cardinals still to be in first place by two games was "hard to believe. But that's part of the game. It's part of baseball. That's the beauty of this game.
"You're not playing your best game for two or three weeks and you're still in first place. I always say it's better this happens now than later."
--RHP Jeff Suppan has failed to beat only Atlanta (0-3) and the New York Yankees (0-5) in his big-league career.
--Over their last 15 outings -- the Cardinals have lost 12 of those games -- St. Louis starters have pitched six or more innings just six times. Three times they have pitched less than four innings.
The starters' totals, including RHP Anthony Reyes' complete-game one-hitter, are stunning: 81 1/3 innings, 110 hits, 76 runs, 75 earned runs. That's an ERA of 8.30.
--One of the few highlights Wednesday for the Cardinals was a scoreless inning with two strikeouts provided by rookie RHP Josh Kinney, who has had three scoreless innings since allowing a first-pitch homer to the first batter he faced in the big leagues, Atlanta LF Ryan Langerhans, on Monday.
--RHP Sidney Ponson (4-3) will make his last start of the first half Thursday when he pitches at Houston. Pitching coach Dave Duncan hopes Ponson's focus is better.
--Although the Cardinals have maintained their first-place lead in the National League Central, manager Tony La Russa said he was more inclined to try to get to 10 games over .500 again. The Cardinals have been as high as 16 lately and as low as seven, where they are now.
La Russa said he was hopeful to be 11 over at the break but would settle for nine, considering that the next four games will be against the charging, defending National League champion Astros at Houston.