Albert Pujols is back on track. After going 1-for-14 and perhaps expanding his strike zone too much, Pujols has had back-to-back three-hit games for the Cardinals and, not surprisingly, the Cardinals have won both games.
Helping the Cardinals overcome a
Reserve catcher Bryan Anderson, who may be a casualty if veteran Jason LaRue (strained right hamstring) comes off the disabled list as expected Tuesday, delivered what might have been the key blow, stroking a two-out double as a pinch hitter to tie the score at 3-3 in the seventh after Rasmus had hit a home run.
Rasmus' ride continues. After going 0-for-18, Rasmus has gone 12-for-24 with four homers.
The Cardinals were 0-for-7 with
men in scoring position before
CARDINALS 4, BRAVES 3: RHP Kyle Lohse, who tossed 108 pitches in six innings, didn't let the game get away from him after he fell behind 3-0 in the fourth. The Cardinals rallied with the help of flawless relief over the last three innings. RHP Ryan Franklin, 7-for-7 in save chances, pitched around two singles in the ninth, getting a double-play grounder in the process.
--INF Felipe Lopez probably won't be pitching anytime soon. Manager Tony La Russa says Lopez first hurt his right elbow on April 11 but didn't say anything until later. Lopez no doubt didn't help himself by pitching an inning in a 20-inning game April 17. He went on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a right elbow strain. "Pitching obviously didn't help the situation," Lopez said. "But at the time I thought I could do it." Lopez won't even throw for two weeks.
--OF Allen Craig, the best hitting prospect in the Cardinals' system last year, wasn't getting much chance to play in the first three weeks and consequently didn't do much. At 1-for-18, Craig was sent back to Class AAA Memphis.
--OF Jon Jay, who played himself out of an Opening Day spot in the spring, was promoted on the heels of a 16-game hitting streak. Jay, who probably won't get to play too much, struck out in his first big-league at-bat when he pinch-hit in the sixth inning Monday.
--INF Tyler Greene, who had a couple of stints with the Cardinals last season and largely was overmatched at bat, was promoted from Class AAA Memphis, where he was hitting .275 with a couple of homers. Greene will get time at third, shortstop and second base with INF Felipe Lopez out.
--RHP Kyle McClellan, who had been inconsistent in the bullpen after a good spring spent mostly as a starter, had one of his best performances Monday. McClellan set down the side in order in the seventh with the ball not leaving the infield.
--C Yadier Molina continues to keep opponents napping. Molina, a slow runner, stole nine bases last year and he swiped his third in the last week Monday. He then scored on PH Bryan Anderson's double in the seventh.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Home run differential (24-9) for the Cardinals after three weeks of the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was
unbelievable. You're talking to a lot of people who seem perfectly normal but
who obviously have done some really bad things." -- 2B Skip Schumaker, after
visiting San Quentin State Prison near
--INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26.
--C Jason LaRue (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He is expected to return April 27.