The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/06

Right-hander Adam Wainwright's control was much better Tuesday, but not his command.

Wainwright, who had walked 18 batters in 29 1/3 innings this season, issued just two free passes to the Phillies in six innings. On the other hand, he had allowed just one homer in his first five starts, but he surrendered two Tuesday, including a damaging three-run blast by Jayson Werth in the fifth inning. The Phillies wound up scoring seven runs off Wainwright. The loss was the first in four decisions for Wainwright, who hasn't pitched as well as his record shows.

"They beat him up," manager Tony La Russa said. "They squared a lot of balls on him."

Wainwright said he had good stuff but was not high on his overall performance, especially in the fifth, after the Cardinals had cut a 4-1 deficit to 4-3.

"The game came down to the Werth at-bat. If I get an out there, we probably win the game," said Wainwright, whose personal winning streak over two seasons was snapped at nine.

But looking at the proverbial drinking glass, relative to Wainwright, La Russa said, "I like half-full, not half-empty. He's not as sharp, and that's a good sign. The guy's not totally himself and he's given us a chance to win."

La Russa said he was not worried about Wainwright.

"I worry about guys who haven't won a game and their ERA is 5 or 6. Those are the guys I worry about," the manager said.

PHILLIES 10, CARDINALS 7: Cardinals starting pitchers, who had given up only six homers in their first 25 games, have offered up four in their last two games. The two given up by Adam Wainwright accounted for four runs, offsetting solo blasts by Ryan Ludwick, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols.

The Cardinals lost both games of the two-game series with the World Series champions and have lost three in a row for the first time this season.


• CF Rick Ankiel(notes) was released from the hospital Tuesday after his frightening run-in with the outfield wall Monday. Though he said he generally was sore all over, especially in his right shoulder, no structural damage was found, and GM John Mozeliak said the club probably would play short-handed for a couple of days rather than disable Ankiel. "I'm lucky to be walking today," Ankiel said.

• Before Tuesday, 1B Albert Pujols hadn't homered off RHP Brad Lidge(notes) in the regular season, although his playoff home run off Lidge in 2005 was the stuff of legend. Pujols hit a 447-foot solo shot off Lidge in the ninth inning Tuesady. That was his only hit of the night, and his career average of .272 against Philadelphia is his lowest against National League teams. Pujols, however, reached base for the 26th straight game.

• The Cardinals lost 31 games out of the bullpen and also blew 31 saves last season. Through 25 games this year, they had blown five saves and suffered five bullpen losses, but they also had recorded nine saves, and veteran RHP Ryan Franklin(notes) was 7-for-7 in save opportunities. "It's something I know I can do," said Franklin. "It's just a matter of if they thought I was the best fit for the role."

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