Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/26/09

Adam Wainwright and Albert Pujols led the Cardinals to a 1-0 series-opening win over visiting Houston on Tuesday evening.



The Cardinals' breakout to a nine-game lead in the National League Central stems as much as anything from strong pitching by the team's top three starters. Since July 3, the club is 27-3 in games started by Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Joel Pineiro.


Wainwright, brilliant again, took over the league lead in wins at 15 by hurling eight scoreless innings Tuesday, giving up only three hits against Houston. In his five August starts, one of which he lost 2-0 to the Astros, Wainwright (15-7) has walked only one batter and fanned 22.


"The whole rotation … we just keep going out there and feeding off each other," said Wainwright, 7-1 in his career against Houston.


After giving up a leadoff double to Michael Bourn, Wainwright retired 17 men in a row before Bourn singled in the sixth.


"When you're kind of rolling like that," Wainwright said, "you just let it happen. You don't think about what's going on. You just make a pitch."


The game's only run came in the first inning off tough Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.


"The guy who supposedly can't hit him hit a ball down the line, and it was the difference in the game," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.


Albert Pujols, whose average of .120 (3-for-25, no extra-base hits) against Rodriguez was his worst against any left-hander he had faced 15 or more times, doubled past third baseman Geoff Blum to score Brendan Ryan from first base.


Cardinals 1, Astros 0:   For the 12th time in succession, RHP Adam Wainwright allowed two runs or fewer in a game. Hurling eight scoreless innings Tuesday, Wainwright moved closer to LHP John Tudor, who had 15 consecutive games allowing two runs or fewer for the Cardinals in 1987 and 1988. The Cardinals are 19 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season.




• RHP Ryan Franklin gained his 33rd save in 35 tries with a nine-pitch ninth inning Tuesday after laboring through 33 pitches in San Diego in the ninth inning Sunday. Franklin admitted he had let a couple of umpires' decisions on pitches he thought were strikes affect him on Sunday. "It cost me probably 15 or 20 pitches," he said.


• The 1-0 victory was the Cardinals' first since July 25, 2006, at Colorado and their first at home since May 17, 2006, against the New York Mets.


• The Cardinals are 7-0-1 in their past eight series, with the only mild blemish a split of a two-game set in New York earlier this month. They haven't suffered consecutive losses since July 25-26 in Philadelphia.


By The Numbers:   4—Times 1B Albert Pujols has struck out three times in succession in a game in his nine-season career.


Quote To Note:   "He's a complete pitcher with a great head on his shoulders."—San Diego manager Bud Black, on Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter.




• RHP Todd Wellmeyer, who has been out three weeks with an inflamed right elbow, threw a bullpen session without incident Tuesday but will have to do the same at least once more before he is cleared to pitch, manager Tony La Russa said. Wellemeyer has said he would take a minor league rehab start, and La Russa said he thought that would be a good idea.


• RHP Shelby Miller, the 18-year-old who was the Cardinals' first-round draft pick, threw a bullpen session Tuesday for the Busch Stadium brass before heading out to join the club's Class A Quad Cities team the next day. The fireballer is scheduled to throw a few more bullpen sessions and then batting practice before pitching a couple of innings in games on Sept. 3 and Sept. 7. He is expected to pitch again for Quad Cities next season.


• RHP Adam Wainwright, Tuesday's winner, has a 1.98 ERA in his last 18 starts, covering 145 2/3 innings. More important, the team is 12-4 in his last 16 starts.


Medical Watch: 


LHP Kyle Lohse (strained groin) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 22.


RHP Todd Wellemeyer (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 5. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 25, and he might make a minor league rehab appearance before rejoining the Cardinals.


3B Troy Glaus (right shoulder surgery in January 2009) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He began a minor league rehab assignment July 11. He was shut down in late July because of recurring back pain. He started a new rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 15.

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