Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/12/10

Jaime Garcia and Brendan Ryan sparked the Cardinals to a much-needed win over Arizona Friday night.



Left-handed rookie Jaime Garcia's 12th start of the season lasted just five innings, matching his shortest of the season. But, at many points in that five inning, 102-pitch session, he did some of his best pitching of the season.

Not only did Garcia had to pitch around five walks, but his infield defense helped run his pitch count up by making three errors in the first four innings. But Garcia induced two double plays and ended two other threats with strikeouts as he stranded eight runners in his five innings,

"He made a lot of good pitches deep in the count, which was the key to him surviving (Friday)," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "It was a hard game for him."

Garcia threw just seven first-pitch strikes to the 24 hitters he faced and said he needed to concentrate on maintaining his focus. "Sometimes, you get a little too satisfied or something," he said. "I'm learning."

The Cardinals' bullpen then stranded eight more runners over the last four innings, including three in the ninth when right-hander Ryan Franklin, getting his first chance for a save since May 20, left three as he gained his 11th save of the season.

Entering the game, the Cardinals were riding a season-high losing streak. But they ended it with the bottom part of the lineup, all of whose members had been slumping, delivering most of the offense.

In the second, No. 6 hitter Skip Schumaker, who had been two for 17, doubled in a run and No. 7 Yadier Molina, who had been six-for-35, singled in another.

Then, eighth-place batsman Brendan Ryan, his latest freefall having reached 16 fruitless at-bats, jumped on a hanging curveball for a three-run homer, his second of the season, behind two-out singles by Schumaker and Molina in the seventh.

"I'm just excited I got a hit," said Ryan.

Meanwhile, the Nos. 1-5 hitters were one for 20.

CARDINALS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2: The Cardinals made the most with the least. While the Diamondbacks stranded 16 runners, the Cardinals left just one, that coming in the second. The reason was that the Cardinals were 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position, albeit those chances coming in only two innings. The Cardinals are 3-1 at Arizona in two series this year and LHP Jaime Garcia gained his sixth victory in eight decisions, though having to labor in completing five innings at 102 pitches.



RHP Jeff Suppan isn't on the Cardinals' roster just yet. Suppan was delayed on his connecting flight through Minneapolis and wasn't supposed to arrive in Phoenix until late Friday, so his bullpen session was delayed until Saturday before the Cardinals would sign him. General manager John Mozeliak acknowledged that the team has a deal in place, but it is contingent on Suppan, released Monday by Milwaukee, showing something. "He has to show that he's healthy," Mozeliak said. "This is not a talent search."

Manager Tony La Russa said that pitching coach Dave Duncan had seen something in Suppan's last outing by Milwaukee (against the Cardinals) that suggested the 35-year-old former Cardinal mainstay had something left.

RHP Brad Penny, out with a strained muscle in his upper back, underwent another MRI in St. Louis. Mozeliak said the MRI indicated that Penny was healing but he has not been throwing with purpose off the mound and no bullpen session has been scheduled for Penny. Original estimates were that Penny would be out four to six weeks and he might go to the deep end of that estimate, already having been out three weeks.

To make room for Suppan's signing, the Cardinals outrighted LHP Tyler Norrick. Norrick started the season in Class AAA but now is at Class A Palm Beach.

1B Albert Pujols continues to struggle. He is 1-for-15 now after a nothing-for-four night.

RHP Jason Motte got his fastball up to 98 miles an hour Friday, all the while telling himself to calm down, He faced four hitters, fanning three, including two in a row to end a seventh-inning threat.

RHP Ryan Franklin walked two in working 1 2/3 innings for the save. He had passed only one hitter in his first 23 games, covering 25 1/3 innings.

By the Numbers:

93-Number of at-bats between home runs at Busch Stadium for 1B Albert Pujols, who hit his second at home on June 5.

Quote to Note:

"He's facing a lot of lefthanders for the first time. In his career he'll be a tough out against lefthanded pitching."

-Manager Tony La Russa, on CF Colby Rasmus, who was starting to get hot against LHP after hitting under .170 against them for his career.




Medical Watch:

OF Colby Rasmus (sore left calf) suffered cramping during the June 6 game and was rested June 7-8. He appeared as a pinch hitter June 9.

3B David Freese (sprained right ankle) left the June 5 game, He hasn't started since though he has appeared as a pinch hitter. He might be ready to start June 11.

SS Brendan Ryan (bruised right hand) did not play June 9. He is day-to-day.

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He tossed from a mound June 9 but did not throw on a downward plane. He will be re-examined June 14.

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