The Redbird Report 09/01

Rick Ankiel has hit safely in six games, going 10-for-23 (.435). He has five home runs in 61 at-bats after hitting 32 homers at Class AAA Memphis.

The Cardinals continue to stay in contention as they continue to lose players.

On the same night third baseman Scott Rolen went on the disabled list with tightness in his left shoulder, right fielder Juan Encarnacion was hit in the left eye by a foul ball off the bat of second baseman Aaron Miles in the sixth inning while Encarnacion, who was going to pinch hit, was standing in the on-deck circle to the right of the plate.

Encarnacion was taken to a local hospital and was expected to stay overnight. After the Cardinals' 8-5 win, manager Tony La Russa said, "Nobody's celebrating, that's for sure."

La Russa would have had reason to celebrate. The win was the 1,042nd of his career with the Cardinals, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst.

After Encarnacion was injured, So Taguchi stepped in to pinch hit and doubled, setting off a four-run inning capped by right fielder Rick Ankiel's first grand slam.

Ankiel has five homers and 14 runs batted in since being brought up three weeks ago and has contributed to a half-dozen victories. The failed-pitcher-turned-outfielder got another standing ovation and curtain call after his four-run homer Friday.

"Fairy-tale stuff," said manager Tony La Russa. "Fantasy Island."

The win brought the Cardinals to one game of the .500 mark at 65-66 and moved them to two games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division.

CARDINALS, 8, CINCINNATI 5: Anthony Reyes was headed for his 14th loss in 16 decisions as he fell behind, 4-1, in the second inning, but the Cardinals rallied behind Rick Ankiel's grand slam and eight innings of one-run relief. Yadier Molina also homered and singled, driving two runs.

Tony La Russa passed Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst on the Cardinals' all-time managerial wins list with Friday night's victory.

--Ankiel's slam was the third of his professional career. He had one in 2001 as a designated hitter at Danville in the Appalachian League and another in 2005 at Class Quad Cities.

--RHP Ryan Franklin singled home a run in the seventh for his first National League hit and just the second of his career. He had singled for Seattle in 2003.

--The Cardinals were hitless in their first seven at-bats with men in scoring position Friday before going 3-for-3.

--LHP Randy Flores, who worked two scoreless innings, gained his first win since April 25, which also came against Cincinnati.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- The number of losses for RHP Kip Wells, who could lead the National League in defeats for the second year out of three. He went 8-18 for Pittsburgh in 2005. He is 6-15 for the Cardinals this season.

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