Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/19/10

On Sunday night, Adam Wainwright pitched the St. Louis Cardinals to their fourth series win in four tries in 2010 with a complete-game victory over the visiting New York Mets.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Four series into the season, the Cardinals are the only team in the National League to have won all four of its series. Though they led in only three of the 38 innings of the just completed series, they beat the New York Mets two games to one.

 

"That's exactly what our goal is," said manager Tony La Russa. "To play .667 baseball the rest of the year; it would be a fantastic season."

 

The Cardinals won Sunday because of several firsts. Left fielder Matt Holliday, who had been hitless at home -- the 16 at-bat hitless streak was the longest of his career -- had three hits and a walk.

 

Center fielder Colby Rasmus, even worse at nothing for 18, also got his first hit at home -- a three-run game-tying homer in the fifth.

 

And right fielder Ryan Ludwick hit his first homer of the season, a two-run, game-winning drive in the eighth.

 

But the Cardinals are winning with pitching, mostly by their starters. Sunday's game was the 10th start out of 12 in which a Cardinals starter had given up two earned runs or less. In six games on this home stand, including an extra 11 innings on Saturday, the club did not allow a home run.

 

"It's hard to beat somebody if you're hitting singles," said right-hander Adam Wainwright, Sunday's winner.

 

CARDINALS 5, METS 3: With the Cardinals' bullpen shredded after a 20-inning loss on Saturday, RHP Adam Wainwright expected to go nine innings --and did -- Sunday night. Wainwright held the Mets to one hit after the second inning and RF Ryan Ludwick's first homer of the season broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

--LF Matt Holliday, bothered by the flu for most of the last week, said he felt energized enough to take some extra batting practice inside before Sunday's game. "For whatever reason, I was caught in between on my timing," said Holliday. "Late on fastballs and early on breaking balls. It's a tough place to be."

 

--CF Colby Rasmus had been nothing for 18, tying the longest hitless streak of his career, before hitting a three-run homer in the fifth Sunday against the Mets. "Seeing the ball good but the swing wasn't feeling very good," said Rasmus. "It was just one of those times. I couldn't anything going. I don't like going through slumps."

 

--RHP Adam Wainwright, the 2009 National League Gold Glove winner for pitchers, committed his first error since Aug. 27, 2008, when he fired a throw past first base, allowing a run to score. Wainwright, who had been backing up a play at the plate, said he slipped as he began to make his throw but couldn't stop himself from releasing the ball.

 

--Not much of a walker, RF Ryan Ludwick, new to the No. 2 spot, had three free passes Sunday. He has done that just twice previously in his career. Since being moved to No. 2, Ludwick is 11 for 28 and hitting .304 overall now.

 

--Hours after becoming first Cardinals receiver to catch 20 innings in a game, C Yadier Molina played all nine on Sunday, too. He was three for nine Saturday but nothing for four Sunday night. Rookie C Bryan Anderson probably will spell Molina for a game in Arizona in a series starting Monday.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 652 -- Number of pitches thrown in a 2-1, 20-inning loss to New York on April 17.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've got to say that's up there with one of the highlights of my career. That was something I always wanted to do -- to go on the mound and see how that felt. It was pretty awesome." -- INF Felipe Lopez on his first pitching appearance professionally. He threw a scoreless inning against New York in the 20-inning game.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

 

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


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