Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/27/09

Kyle Lohse was far from dominant Sunday against Colorado but his teammates did him no favors. In a potential playoff preview, the Cardinals finished the regular season 1-6 against the Rockies.

Inside Pitch


Right-hander Kyle Lohse didn't do much to help his cause to remain in the postseason rotation with an uneven five-inning effort Sunday during a loss at Colorado.


Lohse gave up four runs, three earned, although he didn't have the best defensive support. The Cardinals also left the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings after Albert Pujols had cleared them in the third with a three-run double.


Lohse, tagged for two runs in the first and two in the fifth, suffered his ninth loss in 15 decisions.


"It was tough," he said, "because I felt even in the first inning, balls were pretty much where I wanted them."


Pujols ran his mastery in hitting with the bases loaded this season to 10-for-15 with 34 RBIs when he hit his three-run double in the third. But Pujols fanned with the bases loaded for the first time this season with one out in the fourth, committed an error in the fifth and was doubled off first to end the game when Colorado 2B Clint Barmes made a diving catch of a looper to right that Pujols thought sure was a hit. Julio Lugo would have scored from third on the play.


"You just read the ball," Pujols said, "and if the defense makes a good play, so be it."


Lohse, oft-injured this year, is trying to catch up to 42-year-old RHP John Smoltz for the No. 4 starter nod in the playoffs. He will get another chance -- his last one -- when he pitches Saturday at home against Milwaukee.


ROCKIES 4, CARDINALS 3: The Cardinals may well be facing the Rockies in the playoffs about 10 days from now, but do they want to? Colorado beat St. Louis for the sixth time in seven regular-season meetings Sunday. The Cardinals had three hits in the third inning, good for three runs, but only three singles thereafter.


Notes and Quotes


--RHP Adam Wainwright's sturdy, 130-pitch effort over eight innings Saturday -- he stranded two runners in his last inning -- not only netted him his 19th win as the Cardinals clinched the NL Central title, but admiration all around from his teammates. "If that game didn't win Adam the Cy Young Award," RHP Chris Carpenter said, "then I want to know who's voting."


Carpenter (16-4) is in the running for the Cy Young Award, too, but it sounded as if he were conceding to Wainwright (19-8). Both have one start remaining before they go into the playoffs, with Wainwright likely to pitch Game 2 in the postseason and Carpenter Game 1. Even manager Tony La Russa said, "He may have won the (Cy Young) award in that eighth inning."


--1B Albert Pujols has set the National League record for assists in a season with 183. The former record was 180 by the Cubs' Mark Grace in 1990. Pujols stands just one behind Boston's Bill Buckner (1985) for the major league record.


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


--C Yadier Molina was joined in injury dry dock Sunday by SS Brendan Ryan, who had to come out of the game in the fourth inning after having his right index finger nicked by a pitch while he was trying to bunt. Molina had to exit the previous night's game when a bunt attempt by Colorado 2B Clint Barmes glanced off the shin guard protecting his left knee. Molina nonetheless suffered a significant bruise, and manager Tony La Russa had doubt Molina would be ready for the team's next game, Tuesday in Cincinnati. But Molina said, "It will be OK."


--LF Matt Holliday was sick with the flu, so manager Tony La Russa started an odd outfield configuration Sunday against Colorado LHP Jorge De La Rosa. They were all right-handed hitters, but only Ryan Ludwick really had played much outfield this year. Ludwick was moved from right field to left. Mark DeRosa, who has played outfield in the past, went from third base to right field, and INF Tyler Greene played center field (for three innings) for the first time since high school. La Russa kept left-handed-hitting OFs Colby Rasmus and Rick Ankiel on the bench at the start of the game because La Russa said, "I don't think we're competitive against (De La Rosa) if one of our left-handed hitters has to play center field."


--3B David Freese, a St. Louisan who opened the season on the roster, got his first start since being brought back from Class AAA Memphis. He fanned twice and had an infield hit in four at-bats.




LF Matt Holliday (flu) did not play Sept. 27.


SS Brendan Ryan (bruised right index finger) left the Sept. 27 game.


C Yadier Molina (sore left knee) left the Sept. 26 game, and he didn't play Sept. 27. He is day-to-day.


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

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