Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/28/09

Despite the Thursday loss to Houston, the Cards haven't lost any of their most recent nine series. With Ryan Franklin unavailable, Kyle McClellan took the blown save and loss in a 4-3 defeat.



Despite scoring only seven runs in three games and going 4-for-27 with men in scoring position for the Houston series, the Cardinals nonetheless extended their string of consecutive series without a loss to nine.


They already had taken the first two games of the set only to have Kyle McClellan not be able to hang onto a one-run lead over the last two innings Thursday. Relief ace Ryan Franklin was getting a rest after saving three consecutive games.


Still, with the Cubs losing, the Cardinals maintained a nine-game lead in the National League Central with 33 games left. If the Cardinals win only 16 of those games, that would give them 90 wins, and the Cubs would have to go 27-10 to catch them.


If the Cardinals go only 13-20 the rest of the way, the Cubs would have to play .649 ball at 24-13 to catch St. Louis.


On Friday, John Smoltz will make his first home start for the Cardinals against the Nationals as St. Louis continues its stretch of playing opponents with losing records. The Cardinals will have played 19 consecutive games against teams with losing marks until they meet Atlanta on Sept. 11.


Astros 4, Cardinals 3:   Kyle McClellan blew the save in the eighth inning and lost the game ninth on a one-out solo homer by Jeff Keppinger. Matt Holliday hit his seventh homer as a Cardinal and 18th of the season.




• RHP Chris Carpenter, who normally exhibits pinpoint control, walked C Chris Coste and RHP Brian Moehler with two outs in the second inning Thursday, leading to the second of the Astros' two runs in that inning. A Cardinal since 2004, Carpenter never had walked the No. 8 hitter and the pitcher in succession in an inning. Carpenter's winning streak remained at nine.


• RHP Kyle McClellan missed a chance for his third save of the season Thursday. RHP Ryan Franklin, worked hard lately, was being given a rest, although McClellan said he wasn't aware of that. "I don't think it would have made a difference," said McClellan, who actually blew the save in the eighth, when Franklin probably wouldn't have been in the game.


• Wednesday marked the 16th walkless game by the Cardinals this season, which is a major league high. RHP Joel Pineiro, the winning pitcher, finished August walking only three men. He passed two in May, four in June and three in July after walking six in April.


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.




• SS Brendan Ryan continued his exceptional play in the field, and though he didn't start, extended his hitting streak to nine games with a broken-bat single in the seventh inning. Manager Tony La Russa started Julio Lugo at short so as to not wear down Ryan. Lugo, who had been 0-for-16, responded with a single and a double.


• RF Ryan Ludwick, who had been slumping lately, singled home two runs in the sixth inning to put the Cardinals ahead. The multi-RBI game was Ludwick's second in his last 13 starts.


• RHP Kyle Lohse, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, threw a bullpen session without incident. Both he and RHP Todd Wellemeyer (inflamed elbow) are possibilities to go on rehabilitation assignments, although the minor league seasons fast are drawing to a close.


Medical Watch: 


LHP Kyle Lohse (strained groin) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 22. He threw a bullpen session Aug. 27.


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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