Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/21/10

Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals bullpen had an off night in the desert Tuesday as Arizona won 9-7.



Rookie catcher Bryan Anderson, giving Yadier Molina a rest, made the first start of his career Tuesday night, and the Cardinals' pitchers, notably Kyle Lohse, had their worst game of the season.


No one really blamed Anderson, but the young receiver and the pitchers spent very little time together this spring training. Anderson played sparingly with the big-league club before being sent to Class AAA Memphis, so the comfort level of what pitch to throw where and when might not have been there.


"I thought (Anderson) did a good job," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who said the issue was bad command by his pitchers.


Lohse, who didn't feel well before the game because of allergies, no doubt felt the worst about his performance. Three times in the first four innings, he was staked to a two-run lead. Each time, Lohse (0-2) lost that lead in the bottom of the inning, with Mitchell Boggs abetting in the fourth when he surrendered what turned out to be a game-winning, three-run homer on a hanging pitch to Arizona's Mark Reynolds.


It certainly was a game of two halves by the Cardinals offense. Two home runs by Ryan Ludwick and one by Albert Pujols highlighted a seven-run performance in the first four innings. But the final 16 St. Louis hitters were retired in order as batters expanded their strike zone too much.


Lohse was 15-6 in 2008, his first year with the Cardinals, and was 3-0 in April last year before suffering an assortment of injuries that hampered the rest of his season. Lohse finished 6-10, including 1-6 with a 6.18 ERA on the road. And he has been no better on the road this year, giving up 11 runs in nine innings over two starts.


"Just bad command out there today," Lohse said. "From the first batter on, it was a battle. It was a poor job of finishing out an inning."


On offense, Lohse, who finished Saturday's 20-inning game in left field, did single home the Cardinals' final run in the fourth. But he also served up two of the four hits amassed by Arizona pitcher Dan Haren.


"Everybody who pitched for us had a tough time," La Russa said.


DIAMONDBACKS 9, CARDINALS 7: RHP Kyle Lohse is the only one of the Cardinals' starters to struggle this year, but he really hasn't been effective since last April. Lohse suffered his 12th loss in 15 decisions since then, giving up seven runs, eight hits and four walks in three-plus innings.




--When Arizona 3B Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer off RHP Mitchell Boggs in the fourth inning, it was the first home run given up by the club since April 11. That day, Brewers 3B Casey McGehee hit a walk-off homer. The Cardinals didn't allow another one for 77 1/3 innings.


--1B Albert Pujols hit his first homer since April 12. He went back-to-back with RF Ryan Ludwick in the third inning.


--RF Ryan Ludwick continues to thrive hitting second in front of Pujols. He went 3-for-4 with two homers, although he was caught off first in a key play in the fourth inning. Ludwick is 14-for-36 (.389) since being moved into the No. 2 spot more or less permanently, and he's homered three times in the last three games.


--Rookie C Bryan Anderson got the first hit of his major league career, a looping single in the fourth inning. Anderson probably will return to Class AAA Memphis next week if veteran C Jason LaRue (strained right hamstring) comes off the disabled list as expected.


--With the exception of LHP Dennys Reyes, who had a scoreless eighth inning, the bullpen wasn't very good. RHP Mitchell Boggs gave up a three-run homer in the fourth and then had to pitch out of a bases-loaded spot he created in the fifth. RHP Kyle McClellan, who has been erratic since the beginning of the season, walked three and gave up three hits and a run in two innings.


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. He might return in late April.

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