Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/05/10

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz' walkoff homer off Cardinals reliever Blake Hawksworth abruptly ended Tuesday's game in 10 innings.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals have lost only nine games this season -- six of them on the road -- but, almost incredibly, three of them have come on walk-off homers.

 

First there was Jonny Gomes in Cincinnati, then Casey McGehee in Milwaukee and on Tuesday night, Carlos Ruiz in Philadelphia.

 

In another hard-to-believe turn of events, the Cardinals bullpen has allowed more home runs than the starters, 8-6.

 

Right-hander Blake Hawksworth, who had pitched brilliantly to escape a ninth-inning jam, was beaten by Ruiz a couple of pitches after Ruiz had blasted a pitch foul off an upper-deck facade.

 

There was no question who beat the Cardinals because Ruiz also hit a sacrifice fly off right-hander Adam Wainwright to break a scoreless tie in the seventh. In that inning, with a runner at third and one out, the Cardinals chose not to walk eighth-place hitter Ruiz and force the Phillies to pinch-hit for left-hander Cole Hamels, who wound up pitching into the ninth.

 

The Cardinals tied the score in the ninth on back-to-back doubles by hot-hitting David Freese, who extended his hitting streak to eight games (16-for-32, .500) and Yadier Molina. But with runners at first and third, manager Tony La Russa elected not to pinch hit for .200 hitter Brendan Ryan, who fanned against Brad Lidge.

 

La Russa then sent up left-handed-hitting Jon Jay to bat for Tyler Greene, perhaps saving ace pinch hitter Nick Stavinoha for another spot. Jay made good contact but flied to deep center to end the inning.

 

In the 10th, Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to nine games, doubling with one out. But Matt Holliday struck out for the third time and, as Pujols showed his frustration from second base, Holliday, unaware that strike three had trickled away from catcher Ruiz, didn't run. Pujols might have made a move to third if Holliday had run, but it likely made no difference anyway, as Freese fouled out for the last out.

 

The Cardinals' 13th consecutive quality start was better than quality by Wainwright, who gave up just four hits and one run in eight innings. The only hit that cost him was a leadoff triple by Raul Ibanez, who scored the first run of the game in the seventh.

 

"That's how he's pitched most of the time," said La Russa of his right-hander, who still is 4-1.

 

"We went about it the right way," La Russa added. "It's tough to lose, but I have no complaints about our effort."

 

PHILLIES 2, CARDINALS 1 (10 innings): Cardinals starting pitchers haven't allowed a home run in their last 21 games, but the relievers have given up three solo shots in the last two nights, including a bad sinker from RHP Blake Hawksworth that Philadelphia C Carlos Ruiz turned around for a game-winning home run in the 10th.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

--RHP Blake Hawksworth, who allowed a 10th-inning home run to Phillies C Carlos Ruiz, was saddled with his first major league loss. Hawksworth, who was 4-0 as a rookie last year, worked through the heart of the Phillies lineup in the ninth after LHP Dennys Reyes had issued a four-pitch walk to 1B Ryan Howard, but he gave up a game-loser to open the next inning.

 

--RHP Adam Wainwright worked eight or more innings for the third time in six starts but got his first no-decision. Wainwright worked a league-high 233 innings last year and is averaging 7 2/3 innings a start this year. He pitched eight innings of one-run ball Tuesday against the Phillies.

 

--3B David Freese hiked his hitting streak to eight games, including four multi-hit games in a row. Freese is 16-for-32 (.500) in that stretch and has been promoted to the No. 5 spot in the order. He hit eighth and seventh earlier in the year.

 

--Cardinals relievers, including OF Joe Mather, have suffered five of the team's nine losses. Three of the losses have come on the last pitch of games by RHP Jason Motte, RHP Kyle McClellan and Hawksworth. The relievers are 4-5, while the starters are 14-4.

 

--The Cardinals thought a Philadelphia police officer acted properly in Tasering a 17-year-old fan who had come onto the field Monday and then run around for a couple of minutes before being stopped. LHP Trever Miller, who watched from the bullpen, said, "They handled it exactly the way it should have been handled. If someone comes into your office and runs around acting crazy, what do you think should happen? It wouldn't stand. I know that. It should be no different with us. This is our office. There's no way to know what's going to happen when somebody does that."

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Home runs allowed by the Cardinals in their first 13 games at home, through May 2.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's worth everything he gets because he's proved it." -- 1B Albert Pujols on the $125 million contract extension for his friend, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

MEDICAL WATCH:

 

--INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26. As of May 3, he hadn't resumed swinging a bat.


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