Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/26/09

In a 2-1 Friday loss in Colorado, St. Louis' inconsistent offense left Chris Carpenter high and dry for the second consecutive start.

Inside Pitch


Not only did the Cardinals not wrap up the National League Central Division title on their own Friday, they again didn't help Chris Carpenter, whose campaign for his second Cy Young Award could have been enhanced in his last two starts.


Carpenter, after having early trouble with the mound at Colorado's Coors Field where he hadn't pitched in several years, gave up just one run (in the first inning) in seven innings, meaning that he has allowed only one run in his last 15 innings. And Carpenter has two no-decisions to show for it to remain at 16-4.


Discussing his problems with the mound, Carpenter said, "The mound definitely was different from the bullpen mound. It was not even close.


"The mound in the bullpen was way flatter than the mound on the field. I don't know if they do that on purpose but no question, it's totally different. It was a battle trying to get the ball down."


Ryan Ludwick's first homer in three weeks and 21st of the year has been the Cardinals' only offense in the last two games -- they were blanked in Houston on Wednesday.


Former Rockies star Matt Holliday batted twice with two runners on and was thwarted each time.


In the third, Holliday, hitting with men at first and third and two out, sent a scorcher down the third-base line where third baseman Ian Stewart made a sprawling stop and then strong throw from his knees for the final out.


In the eighth, Holliday bounced into a double play with men at first and second. The Rockies then nudged home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Yorvit Torrealba in the ninth and, for the moment, the Cardinals' magic number remained at one.


Manager Tony La Russa was not all that upset with the outcome of what he thought was a highly entertaining game between two playoff contenders.


"I'm disappointed, but I have no regrets... it was fun to be a part of that," said La Russa.


Shortstop Brendan Ryan couldn't turn a double-play ball on a hard-hit ball by Troy Tulowitzki in the ninth, getting only a force-out and setting up the Rockies' winning run.


"If he catches the ball clean, it's a double play," said La Russa. "But it was hit hard and it took a funny hop at the end.


"(Ryan) has played great. You certainly can't fault him on that one."


ROCKIES 2, CARDINALS 1: After a two-day respite in which they scored 18 runs in two games at Houston, the Cardinals have reverted to their recent offensive slumbers. Friday's game marked the fifth time in their last seven that they have scored three or fewer runs.


Notes and Quotes


--The loss for LHP Trever Miller was his first as a Cardinal. He walked Colorado 1B Todd Helton to open the ninth and that run eventually scored. But La Russa said, "You don't throw the ball down the middle to a hitter like that."


--General manager John Mozeliak said no contract talks with potential free-agent LF Matt Holliday will take place until after the Cardinals are done in the postseason. If they reach the World Series, they would have only 15 days to negotiate solely with Holliday and Mozeliak said, "That would be a small window but that's what it would be."


BY THE NUMBERS: 37-18 -- Cardinals' record in the first 55 games LF Matt Holliday played for them.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "I nit-pick. But I feel the progress I'm making is pretty darn good." -- RHP John Smoltz, after his sixth of six straight good starts for the Cardinals.


Roster Report


--1B Albert Pujols injured his left foot while running to first base on a hit in the eighth but stayed in the game and manager Tony La Russa said, "I think he'll be good to go (Saturday)." Pujols hasn't homered since he got to 47 with two homers on Sept. 9 at Milwaukee.


--RHP Adam Wainwright on Saturday will make the first of two starts he has left to try to reach the 20-win plateau.


--RF Ryan Ludwick's solo homer in the seventh inning Friday is the Cardinals' only hit other than a single in their last two games.




SS Brendan Ryan (sore left pinkie) did not play Sept. 22-23. He started on Sept. 25.


3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique muscle) has not played since Sept. 12. He is out indefinitely.

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