Redbird Report - 05/01

Inasmuch as the Cardinals were playing so poorly anyway, it was difficult to measure how they were affected Monday night by the tragic death of pitcher Josh Hancock in an auto accident on Sunday.

But right-hander Kip Wells certainly did not seem to be totally in the game as he committed a silly fielding error, allowed a steal of third and than balked home a run in the second. Otherwise, he was pounded for five extra-base hits, including a homer by first baseman Milwaukee Prince Fielder, in six innings. Wells now has lost four in a row and is 1-5 for the season.

The Cardinals, losing their third straight, dropped four games under .500 and a season-high 5-1/2 games out of first place behind the pace-setting Brewers.

Of their 14 losses, four have come in four outings against former Cardinals Jason Marquis of Chicago and Jeff Suppan of Milwaukee, who were allowed to walk as free agents last off-season.

This was the 17th time in 24 games in which the Cardinals scored three runs or fewer.

"(Wells) didn't pitch very good," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "We didn't hit very good. The effort was there."

The loss was the 2,000th of La Russa's career. He has more than 2,300 wins, ranking him third on the all-time list. He is fourth in losses.

April is over and La Russa said, "We've got to sharpen our focus."

BREWERS 7, CARDINALS 1: The last time the Cardinals saw Brewers starter Jeff Suppan pitch a complete game, he was pitching it against them as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in July, 2003. He didn't have any for the Cardinals from 2004-06, but he didn't allow them to have more than one runner on base in any inning except the third inning as he went nine innings. Right fielder Skip Schumaker had his second three-hit game in five days.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RF Scott Spiezio, in effect, scratched himself just before the game, telling manager Tony La Russa he was too emotionally spent to play, in light of the death of RHP Josh Hancock on Sunday.

--RF Skip Schumaker, told just minutes before the game that he was going to play, had his second three-hit game in his last two starts. Schumaker replaced LF Chris Duncan last Thursday when Duncan suffered a scalp injury.

--RHP Dennis Dove, called up to replace Hancock, didn't have much time to wait for his major league debut. La Russa inserted Dove in the seventh inning and Dove worked a scoreless frame, allowing just one infield hit.

--La Russa, not knowing how his team would react to Hancock's death, said, "The best way we can honor Josh and the sadness we feel is not to embarrass yourself on the field."

--The Cardinals are wearing No. 32 on their left sleeve of their jersey and a Hancock jersey was hung both in the dugout and in the bullpen Monday night.

--RHP Chris Carpenter, out nearly a month with elbow problems, reported no swelling after a sideline throwing session on Saturday and he is expected to throw a simulated game Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of games the Cardinals have won when they've allowed more than three runs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was a very strong part of the (Cardinals) family at the ballpark and away from the ballpark." -- Manager Tony La Russa on the late Josh Hancock, who died early Sunday in an auto accident.


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