The Redbird Report 04/04

The Cardinals' decision to put Brad Thompson, usually a reliever, in the rotation and starter Anthony Reyes in the bullpen worked out on both counts Thursday.

Thompson, a sinkerballer who almost always pitches well against Colorado, shackled the Rockies on six hits and no runs for 6 2/3 innings as the Cardinals won the decisive game of their first series, 3-0. Thompson struck out six and allowed just one flyout. "He pitched just like he did all spring," manager Tony La Russa said.

Reyes, who normally pitches high in the strike zone, entered in the eighth. He faced only three batters, and all were strikeout victims, including Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton, "It was a beautiful thing to see," La Russa said. "You kept saying, 'Wow.' Three times."

Thompson, like Todd Wellemeyer, is thought to be a stopgap starter until Joel Pineiro, Mark Mulder, Matt Clement and Chris Carpenter come back. But in three starts so far, Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse and Thompson have given up only one run in 16 2/3 innings.

Thompson has an ERA of 1.50 against the Rockies for his career. That is his lowest against any National League team.

CARDINALS 3, ROCKIES 0: The Cardinals completed a three-game series in which they gave up three earned runs and won two of the games. Besides Troy Glaus' RBI on his first hit as a Cardinal, Rick Ankiel drove in a run and Brad Thompson drove in the first run of his career with a fifth-inning single.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--OF Ryan Ludwick again started instead of Chris Duncan, who was able to take batting practice but otherwise rested a strained hamstring. On Wednesday, Ludwick had three hits, including a double and triple, and drove in three runs. He walked twice Thursday and lined out.

--The Cardinals bullpen, which pitched eight innings in the first two games, gave three of its members a day off Thursday. RHPs Kyle McClellan, Russ Springer and Ryan Franklin all had pitched in the first two games of the series.

--Thursday's crowd of 33,748 was the lowest at the new Busch Stadium in three seasons. It marked the second consecutive non-sellout after 165 Cardinals home sellouts before that.

--1B Albert Pujols still is looking for his first home run -- he had one washed out Monday -- but he reached base seven straight times in the series before flying out in the fourth inning Thursday.

--RHP Joel Pineiro (shoulder inflammation) threw 68 pitches in an extended spring training game. He fanned six in five innings. Pineiro should rejoin the Cardinals by the start of their next homestand on April 15.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Triples the Cardinals had in spring training, just two shy of their total for all of last season.


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