Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/17/10

Felipe Lopez' grand slam powered the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 comeback win over the New York Mets Friday night at Busch Stadium.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Infielder Felipe Lopez, a valuable reserve this season, has started six of the Cardinals' 10 games at three different positions but until Friday night, he hadn't driven in a run. In one swing, he got four of them.

 

Lopez, who rarely has hit in a power position, has a high total of five grand slams for his 81 career homers. No. 5 came with one out in the seventh inning and broke a string of 22 innings in which a suddenly slumbering Cardinals offense had failed to score an earned run.

 

Then, in the ninth inning, Lopez, who started at second base and moved to shortstop later on, displayed his defensive wares. He moved quickly to throw out speedy New York shortstop Jose Reyes after fielding a roller and then ended the game by gunning down almost-as-speedy Luis Castillo.

 

The folks who were concerned about the health and efficiency of right-hander Chris Carpenter probably had those doubts removed. In posting his second win, Carpenter didn't give up an earned run in seven innings and struck out 10, marking the 13th time in his career he had fanned 10 or more hitters.

 

After permitting five home runs in his first 11 innings, Carpenter, who gave up only seven all last year, allowed just four singles and appeared to be throwing more freely after escaping some major potential damage in the first four innings when the Mets had all their hits off him.

 

CARDINALS 4, METS 3: The Cardinals won the opening game for the fourth straight series. For the fourth time in four tries, righty Ryan Franklin got the save although he barely made it this time, allowing two runs in the ninth and leaving the tying run stranded at second. Felipe Lopez had two of the Cardinals' six hits, including a seventh-inning grand slam and third baseman David Freese had three of the other four.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

--LF Matt Holliday missed the start because he was ill, although he pinch-hit in the seventh and drew a walk before INF Felipe Lopez's grand slam. The Cardinals' pinch-hitters were effective without hitting the ball as Skip Schumaker, hitting ahead of Holliday, was hit in the leg by an 0-2 pitch to reach base with one out. Holliday also was down in the count 0-2 before he walked.

 

--INF Felipe Lopez, who doubled and homered, is hitting .280 and has started six of the Cardinals' 10 games at three different positions. "(Lopez) is not in an ideal situation," said manager Tony La Russa. "He does have the benefit of versatile talents. He can switch-hit and do a lot of things. But his attitude is right. He just wanted the at-bats."

 

--3B David Freese, who had been inconsistent both defensively and offensively on the Cardinals' six-game, season-opening trip, had three more hits Friday and made a diving play at third base to cut short an eighth-inning rally by the Mets. Freese is leading the team in hitting at .367.

 

--C Yadier Molina's eighth-inning single was his first two-strike hit of the season. Molina has had 196 hits with two strikes, representing one-third of his career total.

 

--RHP Chris Carpenter's seven-inning start in which he didn't allow an earned run marked the eighth time in 10 games that the Cardinals' starter gave up two runs or fewer.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 12-0 -- RHP Chris Carpenter's record against National League Central Division teams over the last two seasons. He was taken off the hook Sunday night when he allowed seven runs in five innings only to have his team rally to tie the game in the ninth.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's always my goal -- to outlast the other starter." -- RHP Adam Wainwright, after working seven innings, one longer than Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto, in his first start of the season.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

 

--OF Matt Holliday (illness) did not start on April 16 but did pinch-hit.

 

--C Jason LaRue (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12.


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