The Cardinals Major League Notebook 07/24

A homestand that had started so promisingly for the Cardinals -- they beat San Diego four straight games to start it -- could wind up at .500 if they don't beat the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night in the finale of a four-game series.

"We need this one (Thursday)," infielder Brendan Ryan said.

After letting mediocre pitchers Seth McClung and Jeff Suppan off the hook in the first two games of the series, the Cardinals had no chance with CC Sabathia on Wednesday. The Cardinals had just three singles, and only two runners reached second base.

"He's got a great changeup and then a slider, and it seemed like with two strikes, he had that 95-96 (mph fastball) in his back pocket... so he's filthy," Ryan said.

Troy Glaus had had a .348 career average and two homers against longtime American League foe Sabathia, but he was blanked in three at-bats Wednesday.

"He's a Cy Young Award winner (2007) for a reason," Glaus said. "That was just one of those nights when you catch a Cy Young Award winner on top of his game."

Braden Looper battled through 104 pitches in five innings but gave up just one run. Looper (9-8) failed to win for the fifth consecutive start.

"They kept fouling off a lot of really good pitches," Looper said. "I battled all night to get out of trouble and made a lot of good pitches. It's just unfortunate that their guy pitched a good game."

Looper thought he could have gone longer but didn't disagree with manager Tony La Russa's decision to lift him.

"He's been around a long time and forgot more baseball than I know," Looper said.

BREWERS 3, CARDINALS 0: RHP Braden Looper gave up a fifth-inning homer to J.J. Hardy, and the Cardinals never bounced back. They had two runners on base in the same inning just once. In the sixth inning, SS Brendan Ryan and RF Ryan Ludwick both singled with two outs, but 1B Albert Pujols flied to deep center.


--CF Rick Ankiel, who played through an upset stomach Tuesday night, sat out Wednesday's game against LHP CC Sabathia.

--SS Cesar Izturis has given up switch-hitting after batting only .194 left-handed. Manager Tony La Russa endorses Izturis hitting only right-handed. "It makes a lot of sense," La Russa said. "He's been swinging better from (the right-handed) side. But the thing he does best is (that) he catches the ball at shortstop."

--There is no starter listed yet for Friday's game in New York. It probably will be RHP Brad Thompson, who has been in the bullpen.

--One day after the Cardinals lost OF Chris Duncan with a bulging disk in his neck, they lost CF Colby Rasmus at Class AAA Memphis. Rasmus suffered a sprained left knee while batting on Tuesday night. He will be out a month, costing him his opportunity to play for the U.S. Olympic team.

--Wednesday's shutout was just the second for the Cardinals this season. They were blanked on April 19 in San Francisco.

--INF Aaron Miles appeared in the outfield (left field) for just the second time in his career when he was moved there in the eighth inning. The last time he played outfield, the Cardinals were in the midst of an 18-1 loss to Houston last September.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Consecutive victories by RHP Kyle Lohse after he won the Cardinals' first game after the All-Star break.

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