Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/20/10

On Monday, Brad Penny continued his personal dominance over Arizona, pitching the Cardinals to a series-opening win.



Right-hander Brad Penny had pitched this game twice before this season.


On Monday night, he went seven innings for the third consecutive start and he recorded a ton of groundball outs. This time it was 10, including an inning-ending double play off the bat of Arizona's Stephen Drew in the seventh inning. The Cardinals went ahead in the eighth to give him his second victory.


Penny is 10-3 in his career against Arizona.


Left fielder Matt Holliday, who had three hits for the second night in a row, is a teammate of Penny for the first time and he said, "This is no surprise to me. I've faced in the National League West for a long time."


The Diamondbacks managed just two runs against Penny, the 11th time in 13 games that the Cardinals' starter had given up two earned runs or fewer. Penny has permitted just three earned runs in three games.


"He's the real deal," manager Tony La Russa said.


Penny said he had trouble gripping the ball in the dry air, so he threw fewer curveballs than usual.


"I could have done a lot better," he said. "The first inning -- two balls right down the middle -- it could have cost me a lot more than it did."


The only scoring off Penny was a two-out double in the first by Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds.


The Cardinals didn't have a hit with a man in scoring position until the ninth inning, but then center fielder Colby Rasmus, capping his first multiple hit game since April 7, bounced a single up the middle to provide an insurance run. Until the ninth, the Cardinals were 0-for-9 with men in scoring position. They had started the night batting .216 with men in scoring position.


Holliday lined a two-run homer to tie the score at 2-2 in the fifth. Rasmus, after a leadoff double, scored the go-ahead run on an error by Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche in the eighth.


CARDINALS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 2: The Cardinals won the first game of a series for the fifth time this year. Matt Holliday, who had been in an 0-for-16 slump (a career worst) before getting three hits Sunday night, had three more Monday, including a two-run homer.




--RHP Ryan Franklin is 5-for-5 in save chances after throwing a perfect ninth inning Monday. He recorded his first strikeout in seven games.


--The Cardinals bullpen has stranded all 12 runners it has inherited. The team was 2-for-2 in that department Monday, with LHP Trever Miller stranding two runners in the eighth inning when he struck out the only batter he faced, Arizona's Rusty Ryal.


--After playing 20 innings Saturday and then flying several hours after a night game Sunday, the Cardinals were a bit weary. "I saw some tired bodies; they were a little heavy-legged," manager Tony La Russa said, who added that the team would not take batting practice Tuesday.


--Road warrior: LF Matt Holliday's fourth homer was his fourth on the road this year. The two RBIs gave him 600 for his career.


--INF Felipe Lopez, whose utility man skills included a scoreless pitching stint Saturday, became the first Cardinal to have two stolen bases in a game this season. Lopez has started eight games in the infield: three at third base, three at shortstop and two at second base.


--RF Ryan Ludwick seems to be enjoying his move to the No. 2 spot. He has reached base seven times in the last two games with four walks and three hits.


BY THE NUMBERS: 652 -- Pitches thrown in the Cardinals' 2-1, 20-inning loss to the Mets 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 professional pitching appearance. He threw a scoreless inning against New York in the 20-inning game.






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

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