Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/13/10

The Cardinals continue to play poorly, dropping their second consecutive at home to Houston Wednesday night.



When Kyle Lohse won 15 games for the Cardinals in 2008, he was able to parlay that into a four-year, $41 million contract. But, after starting last season by going 3-0 in April, he fell victim to a barrage of unusual injuries and wound up losing 10 of his final 13 decisions.

Healthy now, the downturn has continued. Lohse suffered his third straight loss this season, giving up nine runs (four earned) to Houston in five innings Wednesday night. The Astros were a team Lohse had beaten five times in six decisions in 2008-09, but he's 0-2 against them this year.

On a Cardinals rotation that has reeled off 29 quality starts out of 34, Lohse stands out like a sore thumb, because four of the ones that didn't meet the standard (six innings or more, three of fewer earned runs) were starts that he made.

Shortstop Brendan Ryan committed an error that led to a five-run fourth inning. Lohse didn't help matters, though, allowing a three-run double to Jeff Keppinger and a two-run homer to Lance Berkman, both hits coming with two outs as Astros broke a 1-1 tie.

In his last two starts, Lohse has worked nine innings and given up 14 runs, although only seven of them were earned. Most of those runs have come with two outs.

"It's been a problem," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's probably trying too hard.

"When he missed, he missed up. He and Dunc (pitching coach Dave Duncan) will go to the drawing board and figure out why. There'll be a 'why' to that."

ASTROS 9, CARDINALS 6: The Cardinals suffered their first series loss at home this year, losing for the second straight night to last-place Houston. Wasted was some good offense by RF Ryan Ludwick, who had his second consecutive three-hit game, and 1B Albert Pujols, who had two run-scoring doubles. LF Matt Holliday also hit the ball hard three times and had two hits.



SS Brendan Ryan's two-pronged slump continued Wednesday. Thought the plays were tough, Ryan committed two more errors, giving him five in the last three games. He also went 0-for-3 and now is in a 1-for-23 skid, lowering his average to .173. "I don't have the luxury of feeling sorry for myself," Ryan said, "because I won't be inked in the lineup."

When RHP Kyle Lohse allowed a fourth-inning homer to Houston 1B Lance Berkman, it marked the first homer allowed by a Cardinals starter in 15 games, or 100 2/3 innings, at home.

1B Albert Pujols makes Cardinals history several times a month, it seems. Pujols scored his 1,090th run Wednesday, moving him into third place in club history behind Stan Musial (1,949) and Lou Brock (1,610).

RHP Kyle McClellan, who has been scored on in just one of his last seven outings covering nine innings, will handle most of the eighth-inning setup duties ahead of closer Ryan Franklin, at least for now, manager Tony La Russa suggested. La Russa believes that McClellan has more weapons to handle both left-handed and right-handed batters and, indeed, McClellan has limited left-handed hitters to two hits in 21 at-bats.

LF Matt Holliday drove in his first run against a left-handed pitcher in 22 at-bats this season. He is just 7-for-42 (.163) with men in scoring position, although he has hit safely in his last five games at 9-for-18.

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 was back in the lineup May 12.

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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