The Redbird Report 08/04

Starter Kip Wells worked into the seventh inning giving up just two runs to give the Cardinals a chance for a win.

The Cardinals' strength all season, the bullpen, finally is weakening under the workload created by an erratic offense and inconsistent starting pitching.

Right-hander Ryan Franklin, who had a perfect 4-0 mark, was called on in the ninth inning Friday after getting four outs on Thursday. Friday night, he allowed hits to three of the four men he faced, including the game-winner to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

Most of the hits off Franklin were soft ones, but the Cardinals lost by one run in the opposition's last at-bat for the second day in a row.

"I made my pitches -- a broken-bat blooper and a ground ball through the hole," said Franklin. "I can be mad about it all night. I'm mad about it now. But tomorrow's another day."

Right-hander Kip Wells, asked to go deep into the game because of the tired bullpen, worked into the seventh inning, giving up just two runs. "We had our chances. They did and we didn't.

"(Wells) definitely pitched a winning game."

NATIONALS 3, CARDINALS 2: The Cardinals, just after they won four games in a row, ostensibly climbing into contention in the National League Central Division, have lost three in a row, including two on walk-off hits by Pittsburgh and Washington. The Cardinals left 12 runners on base and pitcher Kip Wells drove in one of the two runs with one of his two hits.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--In losing the last two games, the record of the Cardinals' bullpen dropped to 21-7.

--The Cardinals have lost three of their first four meetings with Washington, with two games remaining this weekend.

--Cardinals hitters fanned 11 times, including two each by 1B Albert Pujols, LF Chris Duncan and 3B Scott Rolen.

--RHP Joel Pineiro, acquired from Boston on Tuesday, will make his first Cardinals start Saturday. RHP Adam Wainwright will pitch the series finale on Sunday.

--C Yadier Molina had two hits, giving him five in his last two games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of 10-game winners (RHP Adam Wainwright) on the Cardinals' staff. They have two 10-game losers in RHPs Kip Wells and Anthony Reyes

MEDICAL WATCH:

LHP Tyler Johnson (biceps tendinitis) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 19. He is expected to return Aug. 4. RHP Todd Wellemeyer (sprained right elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to July 9. He stopped a side session July 29 due to renewed pain.

LHP Mark Mulder (rotator cuff surgery in September 2006) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. He threw a bullpen session July 24, and at the start of August, he was facing hitters at the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla.

RHP Chris Carpenter (right elbow inflammation) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 2. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs on May 8. He made two rehab appearances for Class A Palm Beach in early July before experiencing more discomfort in his elbow. He had season-ending elbow ligament replacement surgery July 24.

OF Preston Wilson (cartilage damage in right knee) went on the disabled list May 6. He had season-ending surgery June 11.

RHP Josh Kinney (Tommy John elbow surgery in March 2007) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He is out for the season.


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