The Cardinals Major League Notebook 08/04

Right-hander Russ Springer, 39, had been virtually untouchable for the last three months, giving up only two earned runs in 40 appearances, covering 30 2/3 innings since May 3. He had allowed only 19 hits, none of them homers, in that time and opponents had hit only .178 against him.

But, pitching for the third straight night for only the second time this season, Springer gave up a game-tying single Sunday to Philadelphia left fielder Pat Burrell and a game-deciding three-run homer by center fielder Shane Victorino.

The tip-off on what was to come was that Springer never had allowed a hit to Burrell in seven at-bats (five strikeouts).

The homer was the first Springer had allowed since Washington shortstop Cristian Guzman had homered off him on April. 3.

The Phillies' win, despite repeated flurries by the Cardinals in the late innings, cemented the Cardinals' fifth series loss in their last six series at Busch Stadium. They also have lost six of their last seven home games.

Manager Tony La Russa took himself to task for using Springer three days in a row and four out of five.

"I think he just went out there one day too many," said La Russa. "It was my decision. It was a bad decision to send him out there. He just didn't have his normal stuff.

"It wasn't the worst decision I ever made. It just didn't work out."

Springer said, "I got called on to get one out there in a clutch situation. No matter how much you've been used, you still should be able to go out there and suck it up and make quality pitches for one hitter. I felt pretty confident, but I didn't have a whole lot to offer."

PHILLIES 5, CARDINALS 4: RF Ryan Ludwick doubled and scored a run and cracked his 27th homer for another but hit into a key double play in the eighth inning Sunday. The Cardinals, down by just a run after 3B Troy Glaus hit his 19th homer in the ninth, left the bases loaded against Phils RHP Brad Lidge when rookie OFs Nick Stavinoha and Joe Mather struck out.

NOTES AND QUOTES:

--LHP Jaime Garcia, who allowed a single to Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard as one of the two hitters he faced in the eighth inning, absorbed his first big-league loss.

--The Cardinals dropped a season-high six games off the pace of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division.

--CF Rick Ankiel, who pinch-hit a single on Sunday, said he hoped to be able to play Tuesday against Los Angeles after being out of the lineup for more than a week with a strained abdominal muscle.

--On June 13, RHP Todd Wellemeyer, his right elbow barking, was on the short end of a 20-2 score to the Phillies, giving up three home runs and a career-high eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. On Sunday, Wellemeyer allowed just four hits and one run in six innings although he didn't win for the eighth time in his last nine starts. "The last time I faced these guys, I was hurting pretty bad," Wellemeyer said, "so I'm glad I got a chance to see them again."

--1B Albert Pujols has tied his longest hitless drought of the season at 0 for 13.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of starts out of 18 won by RHP Joel Pineiro.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Not my favorite news." -- Manager Tony La Russa on OF Manny Ramirez being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were the next scheduled opponents for the Cardinals.


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