Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/26/10

The Cardinals fell to Kansas City as there was little answer for Zach Greinke's pitching Friday night.



The Cardinals had a chance to steal a game from Kansas City and Zack Greinke Friday but a sixth-inning opportunity blew up on them.

Right-hander Jeff Suppan, despite a ragged second inning, had kept the Cardinals close enough by giving up three runs in five innings although the Royals had a chance to score more. In the sixth, the Cardinals got a leadoff double from Randy Winn and a single by Skip Schumaker, who had three hits. Winn stopped at third and stayed there as Matt Holliday was out on a tapper on which Greinke made a good play and then Albert Pujols, though hitless, reached base for the 28th consecutive interleague game at Kauffman Stadium.

Ryan Ludwick, who got ahead in the count at 3-0, appeared to draw a walk which would have forced home a run. But home-plate umpire C.B. Bucknor called a low pitch a strike and the at-bat continued long enough for Ludwick to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Manager Tony La Russa barked from the dugout about the 3-0 pitch and appeared to be told by Bucknor to cease and desist. Afterward, La Russa wouldn't criticize the umpiring directly. He said, "The way that game was played, we get to the seventh (sixth) inning and Colby (Rasmus) is up with the bases loaded and one out. But that's the way it works sometimes. That's just the way the game is played. It's not such a big thing."

Rasmus would have been the next hitter behind Ludwick in the sixth but instead led off the next inning. That the Royals should have had only two runs instead of three at that point apparently stemmed from a potential strikeout the Cardinals thought they had of Jose Guillen in the third inning. Guillen, with a reprieve, then singled home the third run of the inning.

With two runs in the ninth, the Cardinals did avoid their first back-to-back shutouts since September, 1995.

ROYALS 4, CARDINALS 2: RHP Jeff Suppan's third start for the Cardinals Friday resulted in his first decision, a loss, for them. Suppan allowed three runs in a 30-pitch third inning but settled in the fourth and fifth, reaching 86 pitches overall. But the Cardinals' offense did not produce any runs until the ninth when CF Colby Rasmus' double and 3B David Freese's single sparked a two-run rally.



RHP Blake Hawksworth will be taken out of the bullpen to make his second start of the season for the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Kansas City. In Hawksworth's first start on June 7, he gave up six runs in four innings at Los Angeles.

With the short start (four innings) by RHP Adam Wainwright on Thursday in Toronto and the expected short starts by RHPs Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth in Kansas City, the Cardinals reached to the minors and brought back RHP Adam Ottavino, who had made three starts earlier, going 0-2 with a 7.53 earned run average. Ottavino will pitch out of the bullpen. RHP Fernando Salas, more of a short man, was dispatched back to Class AAA Memphis despite giving up no runs in 4 1/3 innings over four scattered appearances.

RF Ryan Ludwick's tight left calf was all right enough for him to serve as the designated hitter but he wasn't quite cleared to play in the field. Ludwick was a league-leading .455 (25-for-55) with men in scoring position before grounding into a double play in what proved to the key inning in the game, the sixth. The Cardinals had the bases loaded and one out at the time.

1B Albert Pujols, though he walked, was held hitless for just the fourth time in 28 interleague games at Kauffman Stadium. Pujols went to high school in the Kansas City area and was a .400 lifetime hitter in KC before taking a nothing-for-three on Friday.

RHP Jeff Suppan worked his longest stint for the Cardinals since being released by Milwaukee. He went five innings Friday after lasting 4 2/3 innings in his first two starts.

SS Felipe Lopez had trouble completing several double plays Friday and though he is a better hitter than Brendan Ryan, the latter is likely to return to the lineup after two days off. Ryan, nothing for 11 in his latest nosedive, is down to .208 again although Lopez, at .242, isn't lighting it up either.

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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