The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/28

The Cardinals bullpen is taking on more and more problems. The relievers have 19 blown saves and 18 losses despite having 60 holds, and now right-hander Jason Isringhausen may have to go on the disabled list again with a knee injury.

Isringhausen, in the midst of pitching 2 1/3 strong innings Thursday, said he felt something pop in his right knee between innings.

If Isringhausen has to go on the DL, right-hander Brad Thompson is likely to come up from Class AAA Memphis. Thompson, who has had elbow issues this season, can start or relieve but probably would serve as an innings-eater now. Also, rookie right-hander Mike Parisi, who has suffered three losses in relief, was sent back to Class AAA Memphis, and lefty Mark Mulder finally was activated from the disabled list for the first time this season.

Mulder, fighting to recover his form after two shoulder surgeries, recently had back spasms while on a medical-rehabilitation option, and he was declared out of Saturday night's start in Kansas City. But, with the Cardinals having only one left-hander, Ron Villone, in their bullpen -- and on their roster, for that matter -- Mulder will be pressed into service.

Villone, who has struggled lately, had another disappointing outing Friday in Kansas City, allowing a bases-loaded double to left-handed-hitting Royals left fielder David DeJesus that put the game away.

Earlier, right-hander Joel Pineiro, who had given up only four earned runs in his last three starts -- all no-decisions -- allowed twice that many to third baseman Alex Gordon, who hit a solo homer and three-run double.

ROYALS 7, CARDINALS 2: Kansas City clinched the Missouri state series with two games to play by beating the Cardinals for the fourth straight time. In those games, started by four different Kansas City pitchers, the Royals have held the Cardinals to five runs. Only 3B Troy Glaus had a decent night Friday, getting three hits and driving in both runs, one with his 11th homer.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--Albert Pujols started the game as the DH but finished it at first base when manager Tony La Russa pinch-hit for Chris Duncan with Nick Stavinoha and did not leave the latter in the game.

--The Cardinals have lost three consecutive games but haven't had a four-game skid this season.

--Rookie RHP Mitchell Boggs will seek his third straight win Saturday night.

--2B Adam Kennedy doubled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high seven games.

--OF Ryan Ludwick was 0-for-15 before he singled in the eighth inning.


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