Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/17/09

Colby Rasmus' walk-off two-run home run led St. Louis to a sweep over San Diego on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.



The second walk-off home run in rookie center fielder Colby Rasmus' young career propelled the Cardinals to 15 games over .500 for the first time this season and enabled them to take their largest lead in the National League Central Division race at five games.


"Fifteen's a big number," said manager Tony La Russa. "Hopefully, it's not where we stop or it's the only time we get there. It's a stepping stone, a lot of us were taught."


The Cardinals' eighth victory in nine games marked their second four-game winning streak in that span. It came on a day when an early-morning power outage at Busch Stadium caused the playing of the game to be in some jeopardy and then the conclusion of it had to wait for two rain delays totaling two hours and 19 minutes.


The triumph came in a three-ninth, featuring singles by Ryan Ludwick and Yadier Molina and the two-run game-ender off San Diego reliever Heath Bell by Rasmus, whose second game-ending homer equaled Bill Virdon's performance as a Cardinals rookie in 1955.


"Superior performances against as good a closer as there is in the league," said La Russa.


"It's kind of a magical thing. What's special is we're playing to the end, come hell or high water, or rain delays."


Cardinals 7, Padres 5:   In the last three weeks, the Cardinals have rallied either to tie a game in the ninth inning or win it against four of the premier closers in the National League—Los Angeles' Jonathan Broxton, New York's Francisco Rodriguez, Pittsburgh's Matt Capps and now San Diego's Heath Bell, who was victimized by CF Colby Rasmus' two-run homer in the ninth on Sunday. Rasmus' homer was his first since July 7.




• Rookie RHP Blake Hawksworth continued to make points with two scoreless innings, including getting out of a two-on, one-out spot he inherited in the seventh inning. "Hawksworth not only pitched well, but he had an (hour and 27 minute) delay," said manager Tony La Russa. "We were skeptical about sending him out there (after the second rain delay Sunday) but he put a jacket on, did a lot of things to stay warm and he said he was good to go. Evidently he was." Hawksworth has had five straight scoreless innings covering 9 2/3 innings, in which he has given up only four hits.


• 1B Albert Pujols and LF Matt Holliday, both relatively hot at the same time, extended their hitting streaks to 11 and nine games, respectively with singles Sunday.


By The Numbers:   7—Number of stolen bases this season, through August 16, for C Yadier Molina, matching his seven-year total for both the minor leagues and major leagues.


Quote To Note:   "You get the breeze. The old park would trap all that hot air. It was like being around the media all the time."—Manager Tony La Russa, talking about the comfort level of playing in new Busch Stadium in the summertime.




• RHP Kyle Lohse, who hasn't really had two consecutive good performances since his first two starts of the season, was knocked out in the sixth, losing a 4-3 lead in the process. "He felt good but just as he got into the sixth inning, he got a little tight," said La Russa. "He said, ‘I should have told you I started feeling not quite the same.' We were trying to get him through the bottom of the lineup and it didn't work."


• CF Colby Rasmus, who hit an 0-1 fastball by RHP Heath Bell for the game-winner, said, "It's an unbelievable feeling. I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit."


• RHP Mitchell Boggs was told Sunday morning that he would make the start Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Boggs allowed four runs in the first two innings against Cincinnati on Tuesday before righting himself and pitching four scoreless innings.

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