Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/12/10

Brad Penny received no help from his defense as the Houston Astros scored four unearned runs to win Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. St. Louis has lost five of seven.



Right-hander Brad Penny again got no support from his offense, and he didn't get much from his defense either Tuesday as he suffered his third consecutive loss.


Penny, for whom the Cardinals have scored just 11 runs while he has been in the game in his seven starts, nonetheless carried a 2-0 lead over the Astros into the seventh inning. Penny had given up only three singles in the first six innings.


But slumping (offensively and defensively) shortstop Brendan Ryan committed the second of his two errors, a throwing miscue, on what would have been the second out of the seventh inning. It became a four-run frame, with all the runs unearned, and the Cardinals didn't recover.


"(Penny) didn't deserve to be the losing pitcher," manager Tony La Russa said. "But what I look at is it's a team loss. We had a chance to add some runs and missed that. Defensively we could have played better behind him."


The Cardinals failed to put away Houston starter Brett Myers in the third inning. St. Louis entered the frame with a 1-0 lead and had four hits in the inning. But that translated into just one run, as two of the hits with men in scoring position -- an infield single by Albert Pujols (he jammed his heel on the play) and a bloop single by Matt Holliday -- failed to score a run.


In the next inning, third base coach Jose Oquendo, perhaps unwisely, waved home Skip Schumaker on a single to short center by Penny. Schumaker was out at the plate on center fielder Michael Bourn's strong throw.


The biggest spot came in the seventh, when Houston manager Brad Mills brought in right-hander Chris Sampson with the Cardinals down 4-3 and with two runners on and one out. Both Pujols and Holliday grounded out.


Mills had past performance on his side. Pujols is just 1-for-12 against Sampson and Holliday 0-for-4.


"Skipper Mills managed a helluva game," La Russa said. "He put guys in the right spots. I'm not surprised. To his credit, he managed an outstanding game."


ASTROS 6, CARDINALS 3: A Cardinals staff that had given up only one home run in the club's first 13 games at home surrendered two in the eighth inning -- both by RHP Jason Motte -- to take away much of a chance for St. Louis to rally in the final two innings. All three home runs have been allowed by the bullpen. The Cardinals went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position, but only two of the hits scored runs.




SS Brendan Ryan committed two errors and went 0-for-2 to drop his average to .179. "Brendan's got to turn the page. I talked to him about it," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a proud guy, an emotional guy. But when the at-bat's over, he's got to turn the page. When the defensive play is over, he's got to turn the page. And I think he will."


RHP Brad Penny suffered his third straight loss, giving up four runs, all unearned, in the seventh inning. La Russa said he saw no reason to take out Penny during the inning. "I didn't really see him losing his stuff," said La Russa. "The inning just got freaky and weird. And he suffered more than anybody. It wasn't like he was laboring. I didn't think so."


1B Albert Pujols jammed his heel running out an infield hit in the third inning, but he played the rest of the game. Manager Tony La Russa suspected Pujols would play Wednesday night, too. "He's used to playing with pain," La Russa said.


2B Skip Schumaker, whose on-base percentage was just .302 and his average .217, was moved out of the leadoff spot as manager Tony La Russa sought to take some pressure off him. CF Colby Rasmus, who had a .430 on-base percentage, was moved to the first spot, where he often hit in the minors. Schumaker was 1-for-4, but Rasmus was 0-for-4.


INF Felipe Lopez, cleared to begin workouts after his ailing right elbow passed muster, did some light throwing while fielding groundballs and did some hitting from both sides of the plate. The switch-hitting Lopez, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 26, is eligible to come off the DL at any time, although manager Tony La Russa probably will work him out another day or two before potentially making that move.


OF Jon Jay had a pinch single in the seventh inning. It was his fourth pinch hit in a row and fifth in nine pinch at-bats.

By The Numbers:


21—Games in which a Cardinals starter did not give up a home run before RHP Brad Penny permitted two against Philadelphia on May 5.

Quote To Note:


"We're patiently impatient."

—Manager Tony La Russa, waiting for a resolution of INF Felipe Lopez's throwing arm difficulties.




Medical Watch:


1B Albert Pujols (jammed heel) was hurt May 11, but he didn't leave the game. He is likely to start May 12.


LF Matt Holliday (strained groin) left the May 7 game, and he appeared as a pinch hitter May 8. He did not play on May 9, but he started May 11.


INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26. He resumed baseball activities May 11.

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