The Redbird Notebook 06/30

Right-handed relief pitcher Troy Percival's National League debut was successful -- and victorious -- Friday night in Cincinnati. Percival, coming into the seventh inning of a game the Cardinals trailed 2-1, pitched a perfect inning. And then the Cardinals scored three in the eighth to make the former Angels star the winning pitcher.

The game became a battle of the bullpens, and the Cardinals' bullpen is much deeper and better than Cincinnati's. Five Cardinals relievers didn't allow a run and gave up just one hit over the last three innings after right-hander Brad Thompson had pitched a strong six innings.

With the Cardinals' bench short because of infielder-outfielder Scott Spiezio's infected left index finger, left fielder Chris Duncan, a left-handed batter, was allowed to bat against Reds lefty-hander John Coutlangus with two on, no outs and the Cardinals down a run in the eighth.

Duncan singled home the tying run, and then right fielder Juan Encarnacion singled home the lead run and catcher Yadier Molina singled in an insurance run.

The win was Percival's first in the big leagues since 2005, when he was with Detroit. He had retired with an arm injury before making a comeback this spring.

"Kind of a dream come true," said manager Tony La Russa. "That's movie material."

CARDINALS 4, REDS 2: Right-hander Jason Isringhausen, featuring a sharp curveball, pitched out of a two-on jam in the ninth inning to gain his first save in 23 days. RF Juan Encarnacion knocked in one run with a double and another with a single and C Yadier Molina contributed two singles in his first game in a month -- he had been out with a fractured left wrist.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--INF-OF Scott Spiezio stayed in a New York hospital as the team went to Cincinnati. Spiezio was being treated for an infected left index finger.

--RHP Brad Thompson, who had flown ahead to Cincinnati before the Cardinals' game in New York was rained out on Thursday, got the start Friday. Manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan originally were to have RHP Adam Wainwright, rained out in New York, start in Cincinnati, but the club was delayed in leaving New York and La Russa decided to stay with Thompson. Wainwright has been pushed back to Saturday night, and recently acquired LHP Mike Maroth will pitch Sunday.

--LF Chris Duncan is 8-for-19 in his games at Great American Ball Park, including a game-tying single in a three-run eighth inning Friday.

--C Yadier Molina, playing for the first time in four weeks after suffering a fractured left wrist, had two hits in his final two at-bats after his hitless streak had extended to 15 at-bats.

--3B Scott Rolen's hitting streak ended at eight although Rolen did walk and score a run.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of Cardinals who have had hitting streaks of at least 15 games this season -- So Taguchi, Juan Encarnacion and Yadier Molina.


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