Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/28/10

The Cardinals fell flat against Kansas City on Sunday as journeyman Bruce Chen bested Jaime Garcia and St. Louis lost two of three to the Royals.



It wasn't hard to see where the Cardinals' game at Kansas City got away from them Sunday. In the first two innings, they drew four walks, had a hit batsman and stole three bases against staggering Royals left-hander Bruce Chen.

They got only one run, stranding five runners, in the first two innings.

"That's a big potential momentum swinger," manager Tony La Russa said. "They had a guy warming up in the second inning, and Chen just battled his tail off and ends up getting the win. It could have changed dramatically. We missed."

Meanwhile, left-hander Jaime Garcia had his first bad start out of 15 in his rookie season. Garcia, who only once had allowed three earned runs in a game this year, gave up that many runs in the second inning. Two walks with two out preceded a three-run homer by Wilson Betemit.

Garcia (7-4), laboring to find a consistent release point, was gone in the next inning when the Royals scored two more runs. He threw first-pitch balls to 12 of the 18 hitters he faced.

Garcia also didn't get much defensive help in the third inning as first baseman Albert Pujols, who otherwise played a strong defensive game, got the ball stuck in his glove as he prepared to throw to second after Garcia had caught Scott Podsednik off first. And then Jose Guillen's two-out grounder clanked off the backhand attempt of shortstop Brendan Ryan in the hole. The run-scoring single made the score 5-1. Later, center fielder Colby Rasmus may have got a late break on a Jason Kendall drive over his head in a two-run fourth off Adam Ottavino.

Basically, this wasn't the Cardinals' day in any category. Compared to 15 hits by the Royals, the Cardinals had just four hits -- two of them solo homers by Pujols and Rasmus, who each hit his 16th homer of the season. Rasmus' drive deep to right went 429 feet.

Garcia's shortest previous start this year was five innings.

"It's just a bad day. No excuses, no nothing," Garcia said. "It's just one of those days where it's going to happen. It's just one of those days where the stuff is not there."

The Cardinals' loss cost them a chance to win all five of their interleague series by a two-games-to-one margin. They wound up 9-6 in interleague play.

ROYALS 10, CARDINALS 3: The Cardinals failed to capitalize on Kansas City left-hander Bruce Chen's wildness. Chen, hitting one and walking four, threw 64 pitches in the first two innings but the Cardinals had only one run. They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the first two innings, letting Chen off the hook.


1B Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in the Kansas City area, has reached base in all 30 games he has played in Kauffman Stadium in interleague play. Pujols has hit safely in 26 of the games, including a solo homer Sunday.

C Yadier Molina, who has been leading the National League catchers in All-Star balloting since the first weekly results were announced, is in a dreadful 1-for-33 slump, dropping his average to .235. The one hit was a home run in Toronto last week. "I know I'm in a slump right now, but you're just one at-bat away," Molina said.

RF Ryan Ludwick missed Sunday's game with a strained left calf and might be out a couple of days longer. Manager Tony La Russa is blaming himself for playing Ludwick on Friday when he reinjured his leg scoring on a sacrifice fly.

RHP Adam Ottavino, just recalled from Class AAA Memphis, gave most of the bullpen a day off by taking on 4 1/3 innings in a mop-up relief role Sunday. Ottavino gave up nine hits and five runs but also pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out spot.

RHP Blake Hawksworth has earned another start Thursday after his good five-inning effort Saturday when he beat Kansas City.

2B Skip Schumaker made a start in right field Sunday, his first start in the outfield since last September.

By the Numbers:

4 - Number of interleague series won by the Cardinals this year out of the five they played.

Quote to Note:

"What more can he do?"

- Manager Tony La Russa after RHP Blake Hawksworth, a spot starter, worked five innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run, in beating Kansas City. It was the second big-league start for Hawksworth, who had been pulled from the bullpen.




Medical Watch:

RHP Jason Motte (right calf cramp) left the June 26 game. He is day-to-day.

RF Ryan Ludwick (strained left calf) left the June 22 game, and he didn't play June 23-24. He appeared as the designated hitter June 25, then sat out June 26. He missed the June 27 game and might be out a couple of days longer. Manager Tony La Russa is blaming himself for playing Ludwick on June 25 when he reinjured his leg scoring on a sacrifice fly.

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.

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.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories