Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/21/10

The Cardinals took their fifth series in five tries, downing Arizona 9-4 on Wednesday night. Colby Rasmus hit two home runs.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The number "5" was paramount Wednesday night for the Cardinals.

 

Although first baseman Albert Pujols, No. 5, was in the midst of an 0-for-5 game, the Cardinals scored five runs in the ninth inning to break a 4-4 tie.

 

That burst gave the Cardinals a 9-4 win and their fifth series win in the first five series played, the first time the franchise had accomplished that feat in its history. On five occasions, the club had won its first four series, but never five straight.

 

Center fielder Colby Rasmus, who earlier had had a two-run homer and a triple, put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 with a long, leadoff homer off a hanging slider from Arizona closer Chad Qualls in the ninth. His second home run of the night was the fifth of the season for Rasmus, who was batting fifth in the lineup and knocked in five runs for the series.

 

After dipping under .200 at home when he was trying to fight off an 0-for-18 skid, Rasmus has gone 7-for-14 with three homers and a triple.

 

"My swing is feeling a little better," he said. "My bat was dragging a little bit."

 

In each of the first five series, the Cardinals have won two games and lost one. They've won the first game in all five.

 

"If that's the last five series we win this year, that will be a bad footnote," manager Tony La Russa said jokingly.

 

CARDINALS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 4: The Cardinals, who had scored 40 of their first 66 runs on home runs, hit three homers to account for six of their nine runs Wednesday. The wrap-up homer was a three-run, ninth-inning blast by 2B Skip Schumaker, who not only didn't have a home run but also didn't have any RBIs for the season until his three in the ninth.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

--RHP Chris Carpenter didn't get a decision, but he had an active night. He took a fastball from Arizona RHP Edwin Jackson on the left arm in the second inning, and after Carpenter yelled at Jackson, the benches on both sides hit the field. At the end of the inning, as Carpenter arrived late at second base as he couldn't break up a double play, he barked at Arizona 2B Kelly Johnson -- Carpenter later said that act was "stupid. It was unprofessional" -- and the benches emptied again. No punches were thrown.

 

"(Carpenter) was really fired up," manager Tony La Russa said. "He was having trouble breathing. There wasn't any question that it wasn't intentional, but we're tired of getting hit."

 

RF Ryan Ludwick was hit in the first inning by Jackson. Carpenter said that on watching the video replays, he saw that C Chris Snyder had set up his glove for a high and inside target.

 

"They're trying to throw the ball up there," Carpenter said. "There's no need for it. I'm hitting .100. (Jackson) is missing by three feet. Come on. He doesn't need to do that. Throw the ball down and away. Any time you throw the ball up and in to the pitcher ... that's unacceptable."

 

--Carpenter had 10 strikeouts for the second straight game. For the first time in his career, he has had consecutive double-figure strikeout games.

 

--C Yadier Molina seemed refreshed after a day off. He had three singles and even stole a base.

 

--The two-homer game by CF Colby Rasmus was his first multi-homer game of the season. For the three-game series, Rasmus, settling in well as the No. 5 hitter, knocked in five runs. "He got pitches to hit and he jumped them," manager Tony La Russa said.

 

--RHP Jason Motte gained the victory thanks to the ninth-inning rally, and he earned it, getting two strikeouts in the eighth. RHP Ryan Franklin, who normally has a hard time motivating himself in non-save situations, fanned two in a perfect ninth after having just one strikeout all season.

 

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.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

 

--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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