The Cardinals Major League Notebook 09/15

The Cardinals' generally feel-good season is ending on a sour note. They lost a season-high fifth consecutive game Sunday as they capped a dismal weekend in Pittsburgh. There will be no wild card and maybe no first-division finish either.

Brad Thompson, a spot starter who has been successful more often than not, was touched up for some scratch hits in a three-run first but was hit harder in a three-run second. Figured on for five or six innings, Thompson was lifted after 3 2/3 by manager Tony La Russa. The Cardinals already had lost the season series to Pittsburgh for the first time since 1999, and Sunday's defeat left them with a final 7-10 mark against the Pirates this season.

Catcher Yadier Molina tried to play for the first time in four days after being sidelined with a bruised left thigh, but in a fourth-inning at-bat, he suffered a strained left quadriceps. He isn't likely to play for a few more days.

The Cardinals have lost four of their last five series and are only seven games over .500 for the first time since May 21.

PIRATES 7, CARDINALS 2: RHP Brad Thompson allowed eight hits and six runs in the first two innings, and the Cardinals never were in the game. CF Skip Schumaker knocked in one run with a single and 2B Aaron Miles the other with a groundout.

NOTES AND QUOTES:

--RHP Jason Isringhausen, who had surgery on Friday to repair a tendon problem in his right elbow, says he wants to pitch again next year. Isringhausen, who has 293 career saves, probably will not be brought back by the Cardinals.

--3B Troy Glaus has missed five consecutive games due to a rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder. He could return to action Tuesday in Cincinnati.

--1B Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-for-4 game. He raised his average to .360 in his bid to stay close to the NL batting leader, Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones.

--INF Felipe Lopez hit his third homer in his 94th at-bat as a Cardinal on Saturday night. He had only two in 325 at-bats for Washington, which released him.

--2B Aaron Miles got into it with Pittsburgh 1B Doug Mientkiewicz in the eighth inning. Miles felt that Mientkiewicz intentionally dislodged the ball from his hands in a play near the bag. Later, after doubling off Mientkiewicz to end the inning, Miles appeared to say something as he ran toward the dugout, and Mientkiewicz took umbrage. LHP Ron Villone, already out of the game, had to be restrained by several teammates from going after Mientkiewicz as the benches emptied.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Consecutive seasons at the start of his career that 1B Albert Pujols has hit at least .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't expect a pitcher to do that. From now on, I will." -- C Yadier Molina, admitting he was surprised when Chicago LHP Ted Lilly plowed into him at the plate Sept. 10 and knocked Molina out of action for several days.


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