The Redbird Report 07/05

Home runs by Chris Duncan and Brendan Ryan in the seventh inning and run-scoring doubles by Juan Encarnacion and Scott Rolen in the eighth provided the catch-up and go-ahead runs Wednesday, but the dirty work was done by right-handed relievers Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen, probably the Cardinals' two most consistent performers this season.

With the Cardinals trailing Arizona by a run, Franklin pitched out of a two-on, no-out spot in the eighth by getting a double play and a strikeout. In the ninth, Isringhausen had to work hard for his 16th save in 18 tries. He allowed a leadoff double to Stephen Drew and then fanned Augie Ojeda, Miguel Montero and Tony Clark in succession. Franklin (3-0) has a 1.29 ERA, and Isringhausen's ERA is 1.62.

Ryan's homer was his second in just 31 at-bats since being called up from Class AAA Memphis. As a comparison, infielders Adam Kennedy, Aaron Miles and David Eckstein have two homers in 604 at-bats, both by Eckstein.

Although the Cardinals finished the first half at 38-43, their worst record in manager Tony La Russa's 12 years in St. Louis, they have not lost on July 4 in this century. From 2000 on, they are 8-0.

CARDINALS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4: The Cardinals came from three runs behind with two runs in both the seventh and two in the eighth, and the bullpen got its fifth victory in the Cardinals' last five games. Chris Duncan's leadoff homer in the seventh got the rally started, and Duncan tied Albert Pujols for the team home run lead at 16.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--INF Aaron Miles and OF So Taguchi, two of the Cardinals' hottest players lately, were rested Wednesday. Miles, hitting .303, had started 12 consecutive games at shortstop in relief of injured David Eckstein but was 0-for-10 against Arizona RHP Livan Hernandez. Taguchi, who had started 19 of the Cardinals' previous 21 games, was only a .167 batter against Hernandez.

--OF Ryan Ludwick made his first start in center field for the Cardinals.

--SS David Eckstein, who had three shots in the middle of his back to help relieve the irritation he had been experiencing, said he felt "significantly better" but that he would not play until after the All-Star break.

--Because RHP Chris Carpenter worked only 1 1/3 innings Tuesday in his first rehab start for Class A Palm Beach, manager Tony La Russa said that Carpenter, who gave up five runs in that time, might start on three days' rest in his next outing, which would be Saturday. Carpenter is coming back from in-season elbow surgery.

--C Kelly Stinnett, designated for assignment when Yadier Molina returned from the disabled list, has opted not to report to Class AAA Memphis.

--RHP Tomo Ohka, who was signed to a minor league contract with the expectation he would be promoted to the Cardinals, was given his unconditional release. Ohka made three starts for Class AAA Memphis, but he was effective only once.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories