The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/30

If there was a silver lining in the recent concussion suffered by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina it was that backup Jason LaRue got to play more, starting six straight games at one point.

Molina has returned but LaRue still is getting one start a series and, on Sunday, he extended his hitting streak to five games as he drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple.

In addition, LaRue's defense, which he is more well-known for, came into play when he survived a tough hit at the plate from Kansas City outfielder David DeJesus in the first inning and held onto the ball.

"That's what I live and die for," LaRue said. "One of the most fun times in the game is a collision at home plate."

LaRue hadn't had a triple since 2004, so it was no wonder that when he asked the last time he had a homer and a triple in the same game, he responded, "Probably never."

CARDINALS 9, ROYALS 6: The Cardinals, who had been swept by their cross-state rivals two weeks ago in St. Louis, won this series two games to one by using five relievers behind RHP Braden Looper, who didn't last four innings. 1B Albert Pujols hit his first homer since returning from the disabled list on Friday and the Cardinals completed a 5-4 interleague swing to Boston, Detroit and Kansas City.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Jason Isringhausen, who has a strained right knee, didn't have to go on the disabled list, as had been feared and, in fact, fanned four in 1 2/3 innings of relief on Sunday.

--INF Aaron Miles extended his hitting streak to 11 games in which he has gone 20-for-48 (.417).

--Through the first half of their schedule, the Cardinals had played 31 one-run games, tying them with Toronto for most in the majors.

They were 17-14 in those games.

--Every Cardinals position player had at least one hit Sunday, except 2B Adam Kennedy, who walked twice and hit a sacrifice fly.

--3B Troy Glaus got just his second day off this season. Aaron Miles played third base.

BY THE NUMBERS: 19 -- Number of blown saves by the Cardinals' bullpen in their first 43 games. They had only 11 blown saves last year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It just wasn't going maybe as planned, so give this a shot." -- LHP Mark Mulder, on being activated from the disabled list as a reliever.


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