The Cardinals Major League Notebook 05/08

Before Thursday, Todd Wellemeyer had been 2-0 on the road with a 1.93 ERA in two starts. But he had given up 30 hits and 15 runs in 15 innings at home.

On Thursday, he gave the Busch Stadium fans something they hadn't seen from him in the first month of the season—a solid seven-inning performance.

In winning his third game in five decisions with a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh, Wellemeyer permitted only four hits and two runs in seven innings.

Addressing his belated success at home, Wellemeyer said, "It was important, man. I was kind of getting worried there. It was good to show these guys—especially with the good crowd (41,928) we had today. I didn't know we had that many people coming, especially the way season had been going. We hadn't been selling out."

Leadoff man Skip Schumaker, whose 2-for-17 slide had dragged him down to .264, was the offensive star. Schumaker tripled, singled, singled and walked in four plate appearances.

"I've been getting hits here and there, but I haven't felt right at the plate," said Schumaker, who raised his average back to .289 after some extra work with hitting coaches Hal McRae and Mike Aldrete.

"Lately, I haven't been getting on in front of Albert (Pujols). The guy's been doing so much damage, but it's been coming from solo home runs because I haven't been on base. When you have the best player in baseball hitting third, you've got to get on base."

Cardinals 5, Pirates 2: Backup C Jason LaRue —who has caught winning games in all four of his starts—homered and doubled as he raised his average to .438. RHP Ryan Franklin(notes) closed out his ninth straight save and 13th consecutive scoreless outing with a perfect ninth. Franklin has had seven 1-2-3 innings this season.


• The Cardinals' 19-10 start is their best since 1982, when they went on to win the World Series. They also started that year 19-10.

• RHP Ryan Franklin's ninth save to start the season is the best start by a Cardinals closer since Jason Isringhausen opened 2005 with 16 straight saves. Franklin had 17 saves for the Cardinals last year, but with Isringhausen injured but still on the club, Franklin never thought the job was his. "The ninth inning doesn't bother him," said manager Tony La Russa, who will be careful not to overuse Franklin, 36.

• Rookie RHP Mitchell Boggs, making his third start in place of injured RHP Chris Carpenter, didn't make five innings Wednesday, but the Cardinals are 3-0 in his starts. "I've got to get better," said Boggs, who threw 43 balls out of 85 pitches. "Obviously, I didn't have my best command, but I was able to get out of some jams. The guys played great tonight."

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