Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/02/09

For the first time in 35 games as teammates, Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols both homered Tuesday night as the Cards defeated the Brewers, 7-6.



The Cardinals are 26-9 in games Matt Holliday has played for them, but the Brewers were the first team to get the full treatment of the Cardinals' 3-4 punch of Albert Pujols and Holliday on Tuesday night.


For the first time as teammates, Pujols and Holliday homered in the same game. Pujols pounded his 42nd in the fourth inning off Braden Looper, a teammate of Pujols last year.


That started a comeback from an early 3-0 deficit, created when Milwaukee's Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer off Joel Pineiro in the first.


But, in the seventh, Milwaukee manager Ken Macha made a bold move, and it backfired on him. With the score tied at 4-4, Pujols came to bat against David Weathers with a runner at second and two outs.


Inasmuch as Pujols was 10-for-19 with three homers and three doubles against Weathers, Macha chose to walk Pujols intentionally. But, instead of leaving Weathers in the game to face Holliday, Macha switched to right-hander Todd Coffey to oppose Holliday.


Coffey's first pitch landed in the left-center-field bleachers for three runs, and the Cardinals had just enough to overcome a rare, rough outing by Ryan Franklin, who struggled to his 36th save in the ninth inning.


Holliday has 20 homers for the season, nine as a Cardinal. And, with a single added in, he has a career average of .407 at Busch Stadium.


"You pick your poison," said manager Tony La Russa of the Pujols-Holliday dilemma for an opposing manager. "Either way you're in a tough spot."


Cardinals 7, Brewers 6:   The magic number for the Cardinals to clinch the NL Central title is 21 after they won their 19th game in their last 23. RHP Joel Pineiro, winning his eighth in a row, gained credit for his 14th victory—and wins over the Brewers at Busch Stadium have been rare lately. Milwaukee had won nine of its previous 10 games in St. Louis over two seasons.




• RHP Ryan Franklin, the National League saves leader with 36, agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $6.5 million before incentives. LHP Trever Miller agreed to a one-year deal, plus a vesting option for 2011. The Cardinals already held a club option on Franklin for 2010. Franklin, who gave up two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday before earning the save, surrendered more than one run in an outing for only the third time this season.


Manager Tony La Russa thought that the announcement of Franklin's new deal Tuesday might have been a distraction to him.


"He didn't have the calmness he's had," La Russa said. "Why I don't know. He was a little different today, but he fought through it."


• GM John Mozeliak suggested the Cardinals might try to re-sign RHP John Smoltz, who will be 43 next year. "There could be something there," said Mozeliak, who has seen two good starts by the veteran. "There is probably going to be a need for one starter going forward." The Cardinals will try to re-sign RHP Joel Pineiro as a free agent, but Smoltz could be a fallback. Smoltz said, "I definitely want to pitch next year. If the desire disappears, I'll be completely comfortable with the decision to walk away."


• 1B Albert Pujols' 42nd homer this season was the 361st of his nine-season career, tying Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for 69th place. Next ahead of Pujols is Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who had 369 homers.


By The Numbers:   10—Consecutive non-losing (9-0-1) series for the Cardinals through Aug. 30.


Quote To Note:   "When you only get one at-bat, it's a tough assignment."—INF Khalil Greene, after tying a game the Cardinals later won with his first pinch-hit homer. Greene, disabled twice with anxiety issues, has lost his SS job to Brendan Ryan but has contributed off the bench.




• RHP Kyle Lohse, on the disabled list until Sunday as he heals from a left hamstring strain, threw batting practice to 3B Troy Glaus and OF Rick Ankiel before Tuesday's game. Manager Tony La Russa liked Lohse's velocity and movement, although the veteran's command was a bit off. "I was really impressed," La Russa said.


• RHP Joel Pineiro did something Tuesday that he almost never does. He walked a hitter (just his 19th for the season) and gave up a homer (only his seventh) in the same inning. But he lasted seven innings and gave up just one more run after the first, when 3B Casey McGehee hit a three-run homer.


• CF Colby Rasmus, slowing building his average back after it had dipped into the .240s, had his third consecutive two-hit game Tuesday. Milwaukee manager Ken Macha ordered an intentional walk for Rasmus with C Yadier Molina on deck and the Cardinals down 4-3 in the sixth. Molina delivered a game-tying single and pointed to the St. Louis dugout in exultation. Manager Tony La Russa noted the depth of the Cardinals' lineup—Molina was hitting seventh—and said, "Yadier will give you a quality at-bat with men in scoring position." Molina is a .290 hitter with men in scoring position, which is five points above his average overall.


Medical Watch: 


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. He was activated Sept. 1.


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 is scheduled to make at least two minor league rehab appearances before rejoining the Cardinals.

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