The Cardinals Major League Notebook 08/09

The Cardinals are seven games out in the National League Central Division, their biggest deficit of the season, after losing at Chicago Friday.

It was a game in which they had better scoring chances than the Cubs but lost two runners at the plate and one at second base.

The big play came in the fourth after shortstop Cesar Izturis had doubled with one out and gone to third on an error. Manager Tony La Russa put on the suicide squeeze with the count 1-1 and Chicago pitcher Ted Lilly threw a ball low and inside to Cardinals right-hander Braden Looper, who was unable to bunt it. Izturis was out easily at the plate.

"Looper squared around too soon and Cesar broke too early," said La Russa.

Looper said he tried to time Lilly's delivery "but he kind of paused on me and he was able to throw the ball at my knees. I probably could have waited a little longer."

Outfielder Joe Mather, who hit his sixth homer for one of the runs, was out at the plate in the sixth as he tried to score on third baseman Troy Glaus' fly to left. And first baseman Albert Pujols, trying to make something happen in the 10th, broke too soon from first and was caught off base by right-hander Jeff Samardzija.

Looper gave up only two runs in seven innings. Both were homers by former Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds -- one to right field and the other an opposite-field drive which crept over the left-field wall.

"The first one was a bad pitch," said Looper. "The first one he hit. The second one was a pop-up to left.

"I was trying to bounce a pitch. If I get that ball in the dirt, we probably win this, 2-1."

CUBS 3, CARDINALS 2 (11 innings): The Cardinals' much criticized bullpen hurled three strong innings of relief Friday before RHP Ryan Franklin didn't get anybody out in the 11th, losing on a line single with the bases loaded by backup C Henry Blanco. The loss was the 25th charged to the bullpen.


--RHP Ryan Franklin was the losing pitcher but he said, "If you want to say that that's a bullpen loss, that's weak. It went 11 innings. One of the bullpenners has got to lose."

--3B Troy Glaus went hitless in five at-bats, fanning twice and stranding four runners in scoring position. He is an astonishing zero for 29 against the Cubs this season.

--SS Cesar Izturis, who has struggled at bat most of the season, had his fourth consecutive two-hit game and is eight for his last 15.

--RF Ryan Ludwick's hitting streak was stopped at 10 games. He was 19 for 40 in that span, with six homers.

--CF Rick Ankiel was held out another day after he apparently didn't feel comfortable about playing in the outfield yet. Ankiel hasn't started in two weeks because of a strained abdominal muscle. He pinch-hit and popped up.

--RHP Adam Wainright's first rehabilitation appearance didn't go well. Wainwright, who has been out two months with a sprained middle finger on his right hand, gave up four hits and three runs -- all on a three-run homer -- besides walking one in just 2/3 of an inning against New Orleans while pitching for Class AAA Memphis Friday night. He threw 27 pitches before coming out, but as he is being conditioned to return as a reliever, he is slated to pitch again on Sunday.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories