The Redbird Report 05/15

With the exception of Adam Kennedy, who has replaced Ronnie Belliard, the Cardinals ran out the lineup Monday night that won them the National League pennant and World Series last year. Together for the first time all season, that lineup scored eight runs in the first three innings.

This was no mean feat, because the Cardinals had scored in only one first inning all season -- and that was a month ago.

But a bloop double on a checked swing by Jim Edmonds led to three runs in the first inning and Chris Duncan banged a two-run homer in the second off former Cardinals pitcher Brett Tomko.

"We've got good hitters, but we've had a tough time so far. That's the truth," said manager Tony La Russa.

With an immediate cushion, Brad Thompson, making his second start of the season, could throw strikes and not worry too much about the consequences. Thompson gave up two solo homers but walked nobody in 6 2/3 innings of his 8-4 win.

The remarkable thing about the Cardinals' attack was that Albert Pujols, though he hit the ball hard twice, went 0-for-5.

David Eckstein may be getting closer to reclaiming his leadoff spot. He had two singles and a double, but Kennedy, who did lead off, singled and doubled and scored two runs.

CARDINALS 8, DODGERS 4: Win 9,000 in franchise history was a relatively easy one as the Cardinals jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first three innings. But Jason Isringhausen, the team's closer, was needed in the ninth and, after walking in a run, pitched out of a bases-loaded spot to claim his 10th save in 11 opportunities.

Chris Duncan ended a homer-less streak of 10 games and 92 innings with his sixth homer in the second inning.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--C Yadier Molina has quietly extended his hitting streak to eight games. He had a third-inning single in Monday's win over the Dodgers.

--The Cardinals scored in three innings Monday. They scored in only one inning out of 27 over the weekend in San Diego.

--RHP Brad Thompson needed only 79 pitches to traverse 6 2/3 innings, but had to come out when he started getting the ball up in the strike zone in the seventh inning.

--The Cardinals are 10-1 when they score more than three runs.

--RHP Ryan Franklin, who had retired the first man he faced in his first 14 appearances as a Cardinal, allowed a leadoff double to 1B Olmedo Saenz in the eighth.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- The number of games in the first 35 in which the Cardinals scored in the first inning.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Tony has my 100 percent support as Cardinals manager. That hasn't changed one bit and I don't anticipate that changing." -- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., on the immediate future of manager Tony La Russa.


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