The Cardinals Major League Notebook 08/02

Right-hander Jason Isringhausen, renamed the Cardinals' closer some four days ago, finally got a chance to save a game Friday. Entering with two outs in the eighth inning and a two-run lead, he fanned pinch hitter Jayson Werth.

Entering with two outs in the eighth inning and a two-run lead, he fanned pinch hitter Jayson Werth. Then, after sprinting down the first-base line in a rare at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, Isringhausen wasn't as sharp in the ninth, but he pitched around two walks to gain his first save since May 5.

"You get a little hot and sweaty (running). And I'm old and fat," joked Isringhausen. The save was No. 293 of his career and gave the Cardinals four wins in their last five games.

Not to be overlooked was the 1 2/3 scoreless innings by rookie left-hander Jaime Garcia, just recalled from Class AAA Memphis earlier in the day. "Are you kidding me?" asked manager Tony La Russa. "He got five outs, top of the lineup."

Two of those outs came on a line drive by Phils first baseman Ryan Howard. But Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols speared that ball and turned it into a double play. "(Garcia) got a curveball up and caught a break," La Russa said.

La Russa generally was impressed with Isringhausen, especially in his escaping the eighth by getting Werth. But he was disappointed that Isringhausen walked third baseman Eric Bruntlett to open the ninth, with the Cardinals ahead by three runs.

"He shouldn't have walked the leadoff man -- that was bad," said La Russa. "But you get Werth out and then you've got to sit down. That's really the toughest part about bringing in your closer in the eighth inning."

Right fielder Ryan Ludwick smacked two homers in a four-hit night, but the biggest blow was struck by rookie left fielder Joe Mather, who homered for the third time in five games. This one was a three-run shot in the third off left-hander Cole Hamels. Mather is receiving daily playing time with center fielder Rick Ankiel out. "He's getting an opportunity," said La Russa. "And he's getting some big hits."

CARDINALS 6, PHILLIES 3: Cardinals pitching finally held Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard in check although Howard lined hard into a double play in the eighth inning Friday. Howard had been 11 for 23 with five homers and 14 runs batted against the Cardinals this season but he went nothing for three on Friday. Meanwhile, the Cardinals jumped LHP Cole Hamels early with a three-run homer by LF Joe Mather and RF Ryan Ludwick's solo drive, one of two he hit in the game. Ludwick has 25 homers for the season.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--OF Chris Duncan will have surgery on Monday to relieve a herniated disc in his neck. Duncan, likely out for the season, has been bothered by the ailment for some time and was disabled a couple of weeks ago.

--CF Rick Ankiel sat out again with a lower abdominal strain. He probably will do no more than pinch hit until next Tuesday when the Cardinals play Los Angeles.

--The Cardinals, who have just one veteran LHP on their roster in reliever Ron Villone, recalled young LHP Jaime Garcia from Class AAA Memphis and optioned RHP Kelvin Jimenez to that club. Garcia got his first big-league hold by recording five outs in the seventh and eighth innings Friday.

--RF Ryan Ludwick had his fourth four-hit game of the season. He also had his fifth multi-homer game.

--RHP Kyle Lohse posted his 10th win in his last 11 decisions and raised his record to 13-3. He had a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings but weakened on a hot night in the sixth.


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