MLB Insiders - Izzy Given Weekend Off

St. Louis closer, RHP Jason Isringhausen, who has blown 10 saves, will be given the weekend off in Arizona and then be examined by Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals' medical supervisor, on Monday when the team returns home. Isringhausen said he was "pitiful" in blowing a one-run lead Wednesday at Washington.

Scott Rolen, who sat out Wednesday's series finale in Washington, said he was ready to go Thursday night for the opener of a four-game set in Arizona. But Cardinals manager Tony La Russa elected to give Rolen one more day to rest his surgically repaired left shoulder, which was a bit sore.

So, for the second consecutive day, Scott Spiezio was at third base. After hitting a three-run homer in a losing cause Wednesday, Spiezio drove in three more runs Thursday, hitting two home runs this time. His 10th and 11th of the season gave the Cardinals a 6-2 win against Arizona.

"I never know if I'm going to be in the lineup, but I definitely didn't think I'd be starting at third (Thursday). Rolen's a horse," Spiezio said.

Spiezio has had 29 of his 43 RBIs with two outs, including two in the first inning Thursday.

Right-hander Jeff Weaver wanted to go longer than 93 pitches, but he was lifted after five fairly good innings in which he gave up two runs and five hits. The victory was the third for Weaver, although he generally has pitched well since he was acquired from the Angels.

The Cardinals bullpen was flawless for four innings. Left-hander Tyler Johnson and right-handers Josh Kinney, Braden Looper and Adam Wainwright allowed only one hit in closing out the win.

Wainwright, though there was no save involved, finished the game as the Cardinals will give struggling closer Jason Isringhausen four days off. La Russa revealed that Isringhausen, who has had surgery on his left hip for a degenerative condition, was being bothered again by the hip, thus affecting his control.

"He came in after (Wednesday's) game and said his hip was really sore," La Russa said.

REPLAY: Aaron Miles tripled to start a three-run first inning, and Scott Spiezio's two-run homer capped the rally as the Cardinals reduced their magic number for clinching the National League Central to 17 by beating Arizona 6-2 Thursday.

Jeff Weaver was scored on only in the third inning, when he gave up Luis Gonzalez's two-run homer. Weaver went five innings and earned the win.

--OF Skip Schumaker joined the club after helping the U.S. team qualify for the 2008 Olympics in a tournament in Cuba. Schumaker played outfield for two innings Thursday.

--SS John Nelson, called up from Triple-A Memphis earlier this week, fanned as a pinch hitter in his first major league at-bat.

--3B Scott Rolen got a second consecutive game off Thursday to rest his left shoulder, and also because of his .190 average against Arizona RHP Miguel Batista.

--C Yadier Molina, gradually approaching respectability in his batting average, climbed over .220 with two singles. He also drew a walk.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Number of series sweeps the Cardinals have suffered this season. It's the most since 1997, when they were swept 11 times.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It could be a week, it could be 10 days or it could be two months." -- CF Jim Edmonds' timetable for returning from post-concussion syndrome.


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