The Redbird Report 09/29

Russ Springer gained his eighth victory in relief Friday night.

As the Cardinals head for the finish line, they are getting strong starting pitching. If they had this kind of pitching all season, they might not be at the finish line yet, but right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer tacked onto what right-handers Brad Thompson and Joel Pineiro had done earlier in the week.

Though he got a no-decision in a six-inning stint, Wellemeyer allowed just three hits and one run.

For the last three outings by Thompson, Pineiro and Wellemeyer this week, the Cardinals' starters earned run average was 0.45 over 20 innings, in which they allowed just 11 hits.

"When you have starting pitching, you're in the game," said manager Tony La Russa.

Speaking specifically of Wellemeyer, shortstop David Eckstein said, "When he can control his pitches, he has such explosive stuff that that's what he's capable of doing."

CARDINALS 6, PIRATES 1: The Cardinals won their third straight game in three different cities -- Milwaukee, New York and Pittsburgh. Pinch-hitter Jim Edmonds delivered a rare three-run single to highlight a four-run eighth. Russ Springer gained his eighth victory in relief.


--Manager Tony La Russa said he had been asked both by owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager Walt Jocketty to return as manager next year but he said, "It's been a demanding year. I need to clear my head a little bit."

--INF Brendan Ryan will receive ultrasound treatment on his left heel Tuesday before flying home to California. Ryan has been playing with plantar fasciitis.

--CF Jim Edmonds, who has been bothered by a sore groin, lobbied La Russa to play, but was told to wait until Sunday. Edmonds, however, delivered a three-run pinch single.

--1B Albert Pujols scored once, giving him 98 runs scored for the season.

--RHP Todd Wellemeyer has given up only one run in his last 11 innings over two starts, but has two no-decisions.

BY THE NUMBERS: 38 -- Number of times the Cardinals lost by five or more runs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'd like it to stay together, because that's part of how this club kept it together." -- Manager Tony La Russa, saying he wants his entire coaching staff back if, as expected, he returns as manager.

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