Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/24/10

The Cardinals won again in Toronto Wednesday night behind former Blue Jay Chris Carpenter.



One of the many reasons offered for the declining interest in the Toronto Blue Jays was the departure of right-hander Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter was a promising pitcher for the Blue Jays who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2003 after he had encountered some arm trouble and Toronto didn't offer him a major league contract.

Carpenter has come back to Toronto to bite the Blue Jays twice, in games five years apart. In June 2005, he threw a one-hit shutout, fanning 10. On Wednesday at Rogers Centre, he worked the first eight innings of a 1-0 Cardinals victory, giving up three hits and fanning seven. Carpenter was rewarded with his ninth win in 10 decisions when Matt Holliday knocked in his 11th run in the last five games with a ninth-inning single.

Since last July 5, Carpenter is a remarkable 21-2; he is 77-25 as a Cardinal. He walked an uncommonly high four hitters Wednesday as he had trouble with the release point of his curveball early in the game.

"He made a ton of great pitches," manager Tony La Russa said. "He competes like a maniac."

It probably should have been an easier victory. The Cardinals had hits in eight innings and had runners in all nine, many of them in scoring position. But they left the bases loaded in the first inning after the first three batters reached base, and they couldn't break through on young left-hander Ricky Romero, who kept the Cardinals off balance in potential run-producing situations.

Finally, with Romero out of the game for reliever Kevin Gregg, the Cardinals put together three of their 11 hits in the ninth inning.

Switching a struggling, pressing Holliday from the No. 4 spot to No. 2 seems to be working. In the eight games since the move was made, the Cardinals have won six and Holliday is 14-for-33 (.424) with 11 RBI, all of them coming in the last five games.

CARDINALS 1, BLUE JAYS 0: RF Randy Winn's fifth hit in the last two nights, a one-out single, set up the only run of the game in the ninth inning. With two outs, 2B Felipe Lopez also singled, and LF Matt Holliday completed his fifth straight multi-hit game with a full-count single to left on a low pitch out of the strike zone, scoring Winn.



Switch-hitting RF Randy Winn, who didn't have a hit against a left-hander in 14 at-bats, has had three in the last two nights, including two singles Wednesday. Since joining the Cardinals after being let go by the Yankees, Winn is 11-for-28 (.393).

RF Ryan Ludwick missed his first game Wednesday, resting a cramp in his left calf, after playing in the first 71 games. Ludwick had come out of Tuesday's game early. With this series being played on artificial turf, there's a chance Ludwick might be kept out of Thursday's series finale, too.

1B Albert Pujols had four of the Cardinals' 11 hits—three singles and a double. It was his first four-hit game since the first game of the season. All four hits came off LHP Ricky Romero. Pujols, strangely, was hitting .227 against lefties before the game.

The Cardinals were relatively unaffected by the earthquake that hit the Toronto area Wednesday. Many of the players were already at Rogers Centre and didn't feel the quake when it hit.

RHP Ryan Franklin, feeling better after a bout with a sinus infection, survived a hit and a walk to put away his 14th save in 15 tries. The hit was erased by a double play started by 3B David Freese, and Franklin admitted he didn't mind issuing a two-out walk to RF Jose Bautista, the major leagues' home run leader with 20.

The Cardinals already have clinched their fourth straight interleague series victory. On Thursday, they will try for the seventh time to sweep a three-game series after winning the first two games.

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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