Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/17/10

Once again, Jaime Garcia was victimized by lack of support as the Mariners salvaged game three over the Cardinals Wednesday night at Busch Stadium by a 2-1 score.



Jaime Garcia keeps pitching well, just not well enough to win. At least with the way the Cardinals hit when he's on the mound.

Garcia, throwing one of his best games of the season, knocked off his 13th consecutive start in which he's allowed two earned runs or fewer. But all the seven innings of two-run ball got him was a 2-1 loss to Seattle. Garcia is 6-3, and the Cardinals are only 6-7 in his 13 starts despite his ERA being 1.59, second best in the National League.

The seven-inning outing tied the longest of Garcia's career, and his 111 pitches thrown also were a career high. However, manager Tony La Russa pointed out that Garcia would get an extra day of rest before his next start, Tuesday in Toronto.

The Cardinals offense failed to help Garcia in large part because they couldn't get the ball on the ground.

While careful to praise Seattle left-hander Jason Vargas, La Russa, taking note of his team's 10 flyouts in the first five innings, said, "We were under the ball from the first inning to the end. I'm not sure why. But when you do that, you're going to be a very unproductive lineup. For whatever reason we were under, under, under."

The Cardinals failed Wednesday night to sweep a three-game series for the fifth time this season after taking the first two games of the series. They have had just five chances to sweep three-game sets, although they took a four-gamer from Atlanta and a two-game set against Washington.

"It's one of the ways that you put together a big-win season," La Russa said. "That's going to mean 20, 25, 30, 35 (games) over .500 -- when you do have a chance to go plus-three for a series and you go plus-one.

"You've got to take advantage of it. Yeah, it's a big thing."

MARINERS 2, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals had a runner at third with one out in the eighth inning and a runner at second with one out in the ninth, but they scored neither time. The big out was a popup to the infield by 2B Felipe Lopez with PR Randy Winn at third and one out in the eighth. LF Matt Holliday, 14-for-74 (.189) with men in scoring position, then struck out.


The instant replay rule on home runs was used for the second time this season at Busch Stadium. But, with little available in the way of replay help—and after five minutes of observation by the umpires—the call of a double stood for 1B Albert Pujols' drive that appeared to nick the glove of Seattle's Milton Bradley and then kick off the wall and back on the field. "I have no complaints," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. Pujols came around to score anyway on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

PH Nick Stavinoha's double in a fruitless eighth inning was his 10th pinch hit in 31 at-bats (.323). Stavinoha is playing in his first full big-league season. Rookie OF Jon Jay, since sent back to play more at Class AAA Memphis, was 6-for-16 (.375) as a pinch hitter with St. Louis. Altogether, Cardinals pinch hitters have hit .267, which is five points higher than the overall average of the team.

The homer RHP Ryan Franklin allowed in the ninth inning Tuesday was the first he had permitted at home since Sept. 26, 2008. Franklin, who has become one of the best closers in the league late in a previously undistinguished career, has given up only four homers in his last 96 games.

LHP Dennys Reyes allowed a single by Seattle RF Ichiro Suzuki in the eighth inning, the eighth consecutive hit Reyes has given up to a left-handed batter. The 8-for-8 run comes after left-handed batters began the season 2-for-25 (.080) against Reyes.

3B David Freese had three hits for his 20th multi-hit game of the season. It was his sixth three-hit game.

By the Numbers:

0-Number of victories for the Cardinals in games started by top pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on a recent road trip.

Quote to Note:

"I'm a big believer that at the end of the year our numbers will be there and we'll be as a team right where we want to be."

-1B Albert Pujols on his and LF Matt Holliday's lack of productivity.




Medical Watch:

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. He planned to begin playing catch June 21.

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 might be out until the All-Star break.

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