The Redbird Report 05/05

St. Louis Cardinals' Jason Isringhausen, right, celebrates with teammate Yadier Molina after finishing off the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning as the Cardinals beat the Cubs 5-3, Sunday night.

The Cardinals reached 20 wins at the earliest date in their history when Jason Isringhausen held off the Chicago Cubs Sunday night with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 10th save of the season.

"A game like this tells you all you need to know about Izzy," said manager Tony La Russa. "You're trying to win a game, you've got a national TV audience, it's our rival. To come in here and get three outs tells you all you need to know about Jason Isringhausen.

"That's why he's our closer. He's a very, very tough guy."

Todd Wellemeyer staggered through five innings but gained his third win, starting for the first time against his former Chicago teammates. Wellemeyer gave up just three hits and two runs but walked four in five innings.

"He did a real good job of not caving in," said La Russa. "He struggled. But he never quit trying to make the next pitch and he made enough of them."

Four Cardinals relievers -- Kyle McClellan, Ryan Franklin, Randy Flores and Isringhausen -- all got significant outs as they worked the last four innings.

CARDINALS 5, CUBS 3: The Cardinals took their third consecutive series on this home stand, all by two games to one, against three divisional rivals: Houston, Cincinnati and Chicago. Albert Pujols, who had been hitting only .250 in his career against Cubs righty Jason Marquis, doubled home the go-ahead runs in the fourth inning.


--1B Albert Pujols doubled Sunday night and has reached base in all 32 of the Cardinals' games. He leads the major leagues with a .518 on-base percentage.

--Sunday night's game with the Cubs was the 21st out of 32 at home. They will be on the road for 14 of their next 20 games, starting Monday with a four-game series at Colorado.

--RHP Jason Isringhausen already has blown three saves (out of 12 opportunities) this season. He misfired on just two of 34 chances last year but had given up eight runs in his last 6 2/3 innings before he threw a perfect ninth Sunday night for his 10th save.

--2B Adam Kennedy was back in the lineup after sitting for three games, plus a day off. He had two hits and two walks and drove in two runs. His replacements, Aaron Miles and Brendan Ryan, both did well but Kennedy is hitting .329 overall and is six for 12 against left-handed pitchers after going five for 41 against them last year.

--SS Cesar Izturis singled twice, extending a modest hitting streak to a season-high six games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Record-setting number of wins by the Cardinals in month of April.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I had this outing in the middle of the spring, I wouldn't be freaking out about it. So I'm not." -- LHP Mark Mulder, after a rough rehabilitation outing for Class AAA Memphis.

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