The Cardinals Major League Notebook 08/12

After a tough start, it was catcher Yadier Molina's night on Monday.

Molina double-clutched the first time the Marlins tried to steal on him in the first inning, and he fired the ball into center field for an error as shortstop Hanley Ramirez went to third on the play.

"I was very disappointed with that," said Molina. Ramirez later would score on a wild pitch, but the rest of the night went well for Molina and the Cardinals.

Molina, who hadn't homered since June 20, popped a two-run homer in the fourth inning to put the Cardinals ahead for good. Then his defense took over as he guided rookie right-handers Kyle McClellan and Chris Perez through the last two innings and threw out Florida second baseman Dan Uggla trying to steal in the sixth and again in the ninth.

The ninth-inning caught stealing was an alert play by Molina because even Perez admitted he wasn't expecting Uggla to be going with the Marlins two runs down.

"If they go, they go," Molina said. "If they don't go, you have to be ready for it."

Molina also got righty Joel Pineiro through the first seven innings.

"I hadn't faced these guys before," said Pineiro, "so I told Yadi, 'I'm going to trust you 100 percent.' I don't think I shook him off at all."

The Cardinals, notably first baseman Albert Pujols and shortstop Cesar Izturis, played well defensively. Still, the Cards made three errors, two on one play by left fielder Rick Ankiel, appearing in the field for the first time since July 26.

Ankiel, who had been out with a strained abdominal muscle, bobbled a single by Ramirez in the eighth, and his throw to second got past everybody and put Ramirez at third with the tying run.

Nobody was out at that point. But McClellan said, "The play's over. You can't really control that. The only way to get out of it is to worry about the next hitter."

McClellan got right fielder Jeremy Hermida on a grounder to short, fanned left fielder Josh Willingham and retired first baseman Mike Jacobs on a fly to left to earn his 29th hold of the season.

CARDINALS 4, MARLINS 2: RHP Joel Pineiro, who had just three wins in his first 18 starts, has two in his last two starts. Pineiro went seven innings for the second consecutive time and rookie OF Joe Mather popped his second pinch homer and seventh homer in only 106 at-bats to provide ninth-inning insurance.

NOTES AND QUOTES:

--RHP Chris Carpenter was sent home Tuesday morning to be examined by Dr. George Paletta. Carpenter came out of a start Sunday because of what was described as a strained triceps. He was making his third big-league appearance after being out 16 months with a bad elbow that required Tommy John surgery.

--RHP Adam Wainwright, throwing 48 pitches, gave up four hits and two earned runs in three innings in his second rehab start Monday at Class AAA Memphis. Wainwright, recovering from a sprained middle finger on his right hand, might need one more outing before coming back to the majors as a reliever rather than as a starter.

--1B Albert Pujols, who has struck out just 42 times this season, had his second three-strikeout game in the last 2 1/2 weeks.

--CF Rick Ankiel, starting for the first time since July 26 after being sidelined by a strained abdominal muscle, had two singles. He had been 0-for-13 in his career against Florida.

--SS Cesar Izturis had a double and a single, extending his hitting streak to seven games and moving his average above .250.

--OF Brian Barton, on a rehab option at Memphis, will rejoin the team sometime this series. Barton has been healing from a broken hand.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Number of 20-homer seasons by 3B Troy Glaus.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've always believed in myself. If I had ever stopped believing in myself, I wouldn't be here right now." -- OF Ryan Ludwick, one of the surprise stars in the National League this season.


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