With the Cardinals down by a run in the ninth inning Tuesday, manager Tony La Russa chose to play for the win and not the tie.
When rookie Jon Jay bounced into a double play after David Freese had led off the inning with a single, the strategy was foiled and the Cardinals had dropped a game behind the Reds again in the National League Central standings.
Asked why he didn't bunt with Jay, who already had collected his first big-league homer and two singles in the game, La Russa cited several reasons.
He didn't really want to
use relievers Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan, who had worked considerably
lately. Jay is a left-handed batter and left-handers were hitting .325 against
"I don't even think it's a tough call," said La Russa. "Playing for a tie would be a really dumb idea.
"How can you play for a tie in that situation? I think that's firing material, right there. Tie the game ... for what? I thought we had a great chance."
After an impressive first start against San Diego last week, Cardinals rookie P.J. Walters was roughed up for three home runs and seven runs in four innings.
The loser was Dennys Reyes, who had given up just one run in his first 25 appearances and none in 12 outings in May. Left-handed batters were hitting only .080 against him and right-handers .087, but, in the seventh, Reyes gave up singles to left-handed batters Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and a run-scoring hit to right-handed-batting Jonny Gomes.
Early on, Cardinals fans
saw a blast from their past. Former
"When he's healthy, he's an outstanding player," said La Russa, who had feuded with Rolen several times over their years together. "Probably their manager (Dusty Baker) is getting more out of him than I did. I know that's what people are going to speculate, and that's probably true. I'm sure it's true."
REDS 9, CARDINALS 8: The Cardinals assaulted Cincinnati RHP Johnny Cueto for eight runs in five innings but could do no business with four Reds relievers over the last four innings. CF Colby Rasmus continued his revival, amassing three hits, including a home run, after having two hits and scoring three runs Monday.
NOTES AND QUOTES
SS Felipe Lopez came out of Tuesday's game after the fifth inning, as he had taken a bad hop off his right thumb, which swelled and was bloodied afterward. He didn't appear to be seriously hurt, but he is doubtful for Wednesday's series finale, especially considering there is an off day Thursday.
INF Aaron Miles returned to the
Cardinals when the team purchased his contract from Class AA Springfield. Miles,
who was an important role player for
OF Allen Craig was optioned back to Class AAA Memphis after spending one day with the Cardinals. "We're not comfortable with an important part of our future sitting around taking two at-bats, three at-bats every week," manager Tony La Russa said. "Not when we have options."
RF Ryan Ludwick continued his streak of appearing in every game. He wasn't supposed to play because of a jammed left thumb, but he pinch-hit in the ninth inning and flied to left for the final out. "He took a lot of swings and said he was good to hit," manager Tony La Russa said.
Rookie OF Jon Jay, who had three hits, including his first big-league home run, has hit safely in all five of his starts at 8-for-23 (.348). Every Cardinals starting position player hit safely for the second game in a row.
RHP Ryan Franklin, whom the
Cardinals normally don't employ for two innings, worked the eighth and ninth
Tuesday. He has had three stints of two innings in the last 10 days. Before
Monday, he hadn't pitched since May 26 in
Hitting coach Mark McGwire understandably was absent, as he was in the hospital with wife, Stephanie, who gave birth to triplet girls. Assistant hitting coach Mike Aldrete filled in.
By the Numbers:
34-Consecutive games (he played every inning) before rookie 3B David Freese was rested May 28.
Quote to Note:
"That's why those guys scout and I'm playing."
-1B Albert Pujols, referring to those baseball people who had sounded off on what had happened to Pujols' extra-base pop. Pujols hit three homers in a game for the fourth time in his career May 30.
SS Felipe Lopez (swollen right thumb) left the June 1 game. He is doubtful for the June 2 game.
RF Ryan Ludwick (jammed left thumb) appeared as a pinch hitter June 1.
RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return is uncertain.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He might return mid June.