The Redbird Report - Saturday 04/21

Right-hander Braden Looper, who already had earned his spurs as a starter following 572 straight games spent in big-league bullpens, cemented himself even more Friday.

After thinking the Cardinals had pulled off a triple play to end the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs, Looper had to go back and get two outs when the umpires ruled that a botched bunt play resulted in only one out for the Cubs.

Looper protected a 2-1 lead -- that was the final score -- when he whiffed shortstop Cesar Izturis and pinch hitter Daryle Ward.

"I made my best pitches of the whole day after (the delay)," said Looper.

"Those pitches he threw to Ward were unbelievable," shortstop David Eckstein said.

Looper has gone six innings twice and seven innings twice in winning three of four starts.

The Cardinals are way ahead of schedule at Wrigley Field. They won in their first game there against the Cubs this year. They lost their first seven at Wrigley last year.

CARDINALS 2, CUBS 1: The Cardinals stopped a losing streak at four games despite going nothing for eight with men in scoring position. Right fielder Preston Wilson hit his first homer of the season, a two-run drive, in the seventh. Closer Jason Isringhausen got the save, his fourth out of seven Cardinals wins.


--The Cardinals broke a four-game losing streak Friday, and manager Tony La Russa joked that one of the reasons might be something he said before the game.

"My message to the boys (his players) was, 'We're playing like me, which wasn't very good. Let's play like Lou (Cubs manager Lou Piniella). He was a lot better player. Play like Lou, not like La Russa,' " La Russa related.

--CF Jim Edmonds collected his first triple since Sept. 25, 2005 when Cubs LF Cliff Floyd missed on a diving attempt in the ninth inning. Edmonds was at third with nobody out, but the Cardinals stranded him. They went nothing for eight with men in scoring position.

--The Cardinals have scored only two runs off Chicago starter Ted Lilly in 14 innings over two career starts, the first of which was with Toronto two years ago.

--LF Chris Duncan, not known for his defense, made his second spectacular, diving catch in a week although he misplayed a ball earlier in the game.

--3B Scott Rolen was back in the lineup after missing two games because of food poisoning.


3B Scott Rolen (food poisoning) sat out April 18-19. He was back in the lineup April 20.

RHP Chris Carpenter (right elbow inflammation) was placed on the disabled list April 9.

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.

RHP Josh Kinney (Tommy John elbow surgery in March 2007) is out for the season. He is on the 15-day disabled list.

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