The Cardinals Major League Notebook 04/30

With two shortstops already down with injuries, Brian Barden stepped forward Wednesday night.

Regular shortstop Khalil Greene will be out a few days with a sore right forearm, and backup Brendan Ryan, who again played brilliantly in the field, had to leave the game with a tight hamstring in the fifth inning as he ran out a foul ball. Barden, the last shortstop left, entered Ryan's at-bat with a 2-2 count and singled to keep an inning alive.

It wound up becoming a six-single, four-run inning, and the Cardinals rallied for the win that gave them a series victory over the Braves.

Once given the lead, Adam Wainwright, who again walked on the wild side (he issued five free passes), got the biggest out of the game in the Braves' fifth. Atlanta had the bases loaded before Wainwright caught David Ross with a 3-2 curveball to end the inning.

"When he's good, he's very good," manager Tony La Russa said. "When he's not, he finds a way."

Wainwright is 3-0 but has walked 18 batters in five starts and needed 110 pitches to finish six innings Wednesday. "There's no doubt I'm not pitching my best yet," he said.

La Russa thought that Wainwright, pitching in his home state, was more animated than usual, but Wainwright said his actions spoke more of frustration than excitement.

"I think I was getting kind of ticked off," he said. "I let it get the best of me."

CARDINALS 5, BRAVES 3: RHP Ryan Franklin, a reluctant closer last year when he had 17 saves but seemed more comfortable as a setup man, knocked off his seventh save in seven tries as he completed his first four-out save of the season. The Cardinals bunched six of their eight hits in the fifth inning, with singles by RHP Adam Wainwright, 1B Albert Pujols, LF Chris Duncan and CF Rick Ankiel driving in runs.

NOTES AND QUOTES

• Of the Cardinals' 20 hits in the Atlanta series, 19 of them were singles. But three of their seven singles drove in runs with two outs Wednesday, and for the series, the Cardinals had seven run-scoring singles with two outs. SS Brendan Ryan's double in the third inning was the only extra-base hit for the club in three games in Atlanta.

• The series victory was the Cardinals' third in succession. In seven series this year, they have won five, split one and lost one.

• The Cardinals, who were hitting .330 with runners in scoring position, maintained that average Tuesday. The trouble was that they had just three at-bats with men in scoring position, all in the first inning. C Yadier Molina was the only one to come through in that inning.


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