The Redbird Report 07/19

St. Louis Cardinals starter Kipp Wells gave up only two hits as he worked eight innings for the first time this season, retiring 15 of the last 16 men to face him.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan, in reviewing the tape of Kip Wells' start last Friday, came away with the feeling that Wells hadn't made as many bad pitches as it might have seemed. The right-hander gave up eight runs while pitching just one official inning.

"I counted 10 hits they had on balls that were out of the strike zone," Duncan said. "He took a look at (the tape) and felt he had pitched better than the results he got."

On Wednesday night, Wells made virtually no bad pitches. He pitched the way the Cardinals had envisioned he would when they signed him to a one-year, $4 million contract.

Wells, now 4-12, might not have been pitching for his job considering that injuries have sapped the list of potential candidates to replace him. But he certainly earned at least a couple of more starts as he took an early 6-0 lead and ran with it.

Wells, pitching ahead in the count all night -- a reversal of previous form -- walked two and hit one. He threw 20 first-pitch strikes to the 28 men he faced.

"He was aggressive tonight," catcher Yadier Molina said. "Throw that sinker and let them hit the ball on the ground. I think this game will bring back the confidence for him."

Manager Tony La Russa said, "This shows you what he's capable of doing. If we could get him going, that would be huge."

An offense that figured to be weakened by absence of Scott Rolen, back in St. Louis to have his left shoulder attended to, and Chris Duncan and Adam Kennedy, sitting out against Florida left-hander Dontrelle Willis, pounded out 11 hits against Willis in the first four innings.

Juan Encarnacion did the most damage with three hits and three RBIs.

CARDINALS 6, MARLINS 0: The Cardinals won their first series in their last three by scoring two runs in the first inning and four in the second. Kip Wells never allowed two Marlins to be on base at any time through his eight innings. The fact he pitched well against them was not really a surprise, inasmuch as Wells had a 2.36 ERA in his career against Florida.


--3B Scott Rolen, who has just one homer in the last month and four for the season, returned to St. Louis to have his left shoulder looked at and to get a cortisone shot to help relieve inflammation. Rolen had two surgeries on the shoulder during the 2005 season. He is expected to rejoin the team in Atlanta either Thursday or Friday.

"He just needs to rest (the shoulder) more than he's rested it," manager Tony La Russa said.

--INF Brendan Ryan made only his second professional start at third base. Ryan, normally a shortstop/second baseman, had singles in each of his first two at-bats and made three good stops in the field, including one on which he froze Florida 3B Miguel Cabrera between third and home and tagged Cabrera out at third before tumbling over him.

--INF Scott Spiezio, who has an infected left index finger, saw team orthopedist George Paletta and an infectious disease specialist Wednesday. The swelling and inflammation had been reduced greatly, and Spiezio, who is on the 15-day disabled list, will be re-examined Monday.

--Five Cardinals had at least two hits Wednesday. RF Juan Encarnacion had three hits, while SS David Eckstein, CF So Taguchi, 1B Albert Pujols and 3B Brendan Ryan had two hits apiece.

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