Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/06/10

Brad Penny's quality start wasn't enough as the Phillies defeated the visiting Cardinals 4-0 on Wednesday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

   The Cardinals have put themselves into a tough spot in their bid to gain a split of their early-season showdown against the two-time National League champion Phillies. Down two games to one in the four-game set, St. Louis must face Phillies ace Roy Halladay in the finale Thursday.

 

   With Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick having struggled this season, the Cardinals figured to have a good shot at winning Game 3, but Kendrick is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts against St. Louis. He was that good on Wednesday, holding the Cardinals to six hits and no runs in seven innings.

 

   No Cardinal had more than one hit, and St. Louis had two runners on base at the same time in only two innings.

 

   In the fourth, with the game scoreless, Yadier Molina lined out with two on and two out. In the seventh, with the Cardinals down 3-0, Brendan Ryan bounced into a double play with runners at first and third and one out.

 

   "I've got to do a better job hitting situationally," said Ryan, who is 3-for-14 with men in scoring position.

 

   Brad Penny hurled his sixth consecutive quality start -- it was the 14th straight quality start by the Cardinals -- but he also gave up his first two homers of the season. The home runs were the first allowed by a Cardinals starting pitcher since April 11, a span of 21 games.

 

   PHILLIES 4, CARDINALS 0: Philadelphia RHP Kyle Kendrick was winless for the season before he beat the Cardinals Wednesday night. Kendrick kept the St. Louis hitters off balance and used both sides of the plate as held Nos. 2-3-4 hitters Ryan Ludwick, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday to one hit (by Pujols) in 11 at-bats.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

   --The Cardinals were blanked for the second time. But the bigger picture is that they have scored one run or none in seven of their 10 losses, suggesting that a vaunted offense hardly is working on all cylinders despite St. Louis' first-place standing.

 

   --In defeat, two Cardinals players extended hitting streaks. 1B Albert Pujols hit in his 10th straight game (16-for-38, .421) by collecting a fourth-inning single. 3B David Freese, the hottest Cardinals hitter in the last week and a half, singled in the seventh inning, hiking his hitting streak to nine games (17-for-35, .486).

 

   --RHP Brad Penny suffered his second loss after three straight wins, as he allowed three runs in six innings against Philadelphia. "I thought Brad threw the ball pretty well," manager Tony La Russa said.

 

   "They just hit a couple of home runs," Penny said, "I had a little better stuff than I've had, but two pitches. ..." He was referring to home runs hit by 3B Placido Polanco and CF Shane Victorino.

 

   --Two calls by the umpires appeared to be have gone against the Cardinals. St. Louis should have had a runner safe at third in the second inning and at first in the third. La Russa made it clear he did not blame the umpires because enough other things happened over the course of nine innings. But SS Brendan Ryan, who would have been safe as the leadoff man in the third, said, "We had a chance to build some momentum, and it's taken away."

 

   --While the Cardinals are 10-3 at home, they are only 8-7 on the road. After outhomering their opponents 31-10, the Cardinals have been outslugged five homers to one in the first three games of this series and held to one run total the last two nights.

 

   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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