Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/23/10

The Cardinals rediscovered the long ball in their series-opening win in Toronto Tuesday night.



A quartet of Cardinals players who hadn't been hitting and one who continued his red-hot pace led an extra-base-laced attack Tuesday night at Toronto.

Yadier Molina had been 0-for-19 until he hit his first homer since April 10 in the second inning. Colby Rasmus, who had been 0-for-17, cracked a two-run pinch homer in the eighth inning to break open a tight game.

David Freese, who had been 0-for-11, delivered a two-run single to cap a four-run fifth inning in which the Cardinals got all their runs with two out. And Felipe Lopez, who had been 1-for-12, smacked the Cardinals' fourth homer in the ninth inning.

The other homer was hit by Matt Holliday, who has gone deep and collected multiple hits in four consecutive games. He is 11-for-17 (.647) with five homers and nine RBI in that span.

"The timing is good; you've got the confidence," Holliday said. "You're swinging at the good pitches and laying off the bad ones."

Before his recent run, all achieved against teams from the American League, where Holliday started his 2009 season, he had knocked in only 25 runs in 66 games.

CARDINALS 9, BLUE JAYS 4: LHP Jaime Garcia finally allowed more than two earned runs in a game, giving up three in six innings. Even so, he posted his 12th quality start in 14 outings this season. Having displayed some control problems a couple of weeks ago, Garcia didn't walk anybody Tuesday after walking just one in his previous start. "He's learning," manager Tony La Russa said.



The Cardinals, having won the first three of their five interleague series, raised their interleague record this year to 7-3. Their chances of winning this series at Toronto are good with RHPs Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright lined up to pitch the next two nights.

3B David Freese made two outstanding defensive plays and 1B Albert Pujols one as the Cardinals played one of their tightest games of the year defensively. The timing was interesting because the Cardinals hadn't played on artificial turf since 2005, when they had series in Toronto and Tampa Bay.

What are the odds? Eight extra-base hits for the Cardinals and none of them by 1B Albert Pujols, who went 0-for-4. OF Randy Winn had two doubles, and OFs Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick had one apiece. Holliday, 2B Felipe Lopez, C Yadier Molina and PH Colby Rasmus all homered.

RHP Mitchell Boggs didn't show much rust after not having pitched in eight days. He recorded his ninth consecutive scoreless appearance since May 26 by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

LHP Jaime Garcia, who gained his seventh victory in 10 decisions, reduced his pitch count by not walking anybody Tuesday. He yielded just one walk in his previous start. He had three starts out of five before that with four or more walks.

By the Numbers:

22-Number of consecutive starts at home in which RHP Adam Wainwright has worked at least six innings and given up three or fewer runs, the longest streak by any pitcher in major-league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Quote to Note:

"It was nice to see him come up and hit the ball like that. That's Matt Holliday. That's who we know."

-RHP Chris Carpenter, after struggling LF Matt Holliday had three hits and three runs batted in, including a line-drive 414 foot homer. Holliday then would get five more hits, including three home runs, in the next two games.




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, but that has been delayed indefinitely.

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 is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.

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