The Redbird Report 04/17

The Cardinals pilfered a couple of games they should have lost in Pittsburgh last week, and they almost did the same after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning Monday.

But the Pirates pitched out of bases-loaded, one-out spots in both the seventh and ninth innings to hold off the Cardinals. The biggest outs were made by pinch hitter Skip Schumaker, who fouled out with three on and one out in the seventh, and left fielder Chris Duncan, who flied to short left field with three on and one out in the ninth.

Still, after Duncan's out in the ninth, the Cardinals had the man they wanted at the plate -- Albert Pujols. But Pujols fouled out for the final out and is 1 for 12 with men in scoring position.

One of the staples of the Cardinals' season, after some opening-series pratfalls, has been their defense, and Duncan and second baseman Adam Kennedy turned in remarkable plays Monday. Duncan made a stunning, diving catch to rob Freddy Sanchez in the eighth inning.

"It's a game we almost stole," said manager Tony La Russa. "Every pitch they got us out with was a quality pitch. Give them credit."

PIRATES 3, CARDINALS 2: RHP Anthony Reyes labored through a 47-pitch first inning Monday, allowing thee runs. He then set down the Pirates on 49 pitches through the next four innings, but his teammates couldn't quite catch up. The Cardinals were 2 for 9 with men in scoring position.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Friday's rainout with Milwaukee has been rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on July 28 in St. Louis.

--RF Juan Encarnacion, who has been out with soreness in his left wrist after offseason surgery, is ready to begin rehabilitation games at the Cardinals' Jupiter, Fla., complex and then to go onto a minor league rehab assignment. Encarnacion wasn't able to play in any spring training games.

--Cardinals starting pitchers have given up more than three earned runs in only one game this season. But RHP Anthony Reyes has given up three runs twice in five innings.

--In four games against Pittsburgh, the Cardinals have scored only 11 runs, but they have won three of the four games. The Cardinals have scored three or fewer runs in nine of their 12 games.

--RHP Russ Springer recorded his 500th National League strikeout.

--CF Jim Edmonds drove in his first run of the season with a bloop single in the eighth inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: 37-15 -- The Cardinals' all-time record at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just come to the park, stay with your routine and eventually good things will happen." -- 1B Albert Pujols, who had been slumping until smacking two home runs Sunday against Milwaukee.

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Chris Carpenter (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the disabled list April 9. He had his elbow drained on April 10. There is a chance he could need surgery.

RHP Josh Kinney ("Tommy John" elbow surgery) is out for the season.

RF Juan Encarnacion (left wrist surgery) has not rebounded from the offseason procedure. He is on the 15-day disabled list and won't be able to play until at least late April.

LHP Mark Mulder (rotator cuff surgery in September 2006) is on the 15-day disabled list. He won't pitch in the majors until July.


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