Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/01/10

The Cardinals failed again to sweep a three-game series, falling to Arizona Wednesday afternoon.

INSIDE PITCH

 

It took three hours and 53 minutes, but the outcome Wednesday at Busch Stadium was the same as it had been the other seven times the Cardinals had won the first two games of a three-game series. They lost the last game.

The Cardinals stranded 14 runners against an Arizona staff that featured a starter making his big-league debut, Barry Enright, and a relief corps that had three of its members with ERAs of 5.70 or higher. The loss dropped the Cardinals a half-game behind the Reds in the National League Central.

"We had some chances," manager Tony La Russa said. "We definitely didn't create as many chances as we should have. We should have had more opportunities than we had. And the ones we had, we should have done more with them. I'll leave it at that. I won't say any more than that."

One of the few highlights for the Cardinals was a run-scoring single by backup catcher Jason LaRue in the seventh inning. That was LaRue's first hit in 11 at-bats with men in scoring position this season and was one of only two the Cardinals had in 11 men in scoring position Wednesday.

The big out came in the sixth when, with the Cardinals down 4-1, Albert Pujols reached for a 3-2 pitch from Arizona reliever Juan Gutierrez and grounded to short with the bases loaded.

The Cardinals stole five bases, but only one of those runners scored.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, CARDINALS 2: RHP Jeff Suppan had his longest start for the Cardinals at 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs. The big blow was CF Chris Young's two-run, tiebreaking homer in the fifth.

NOTES AND QUOTES

RF Nick Stavinoha, in essence, took a hit away from Arizona 2B Augie Ojeda twice on the same play. After making a diving catch only to have the ball roll out of his glove, Stavinoha then scrambled to make the pickup and threw to second, where SS Brendan Ryan tagged out sliding Arizona C Chris Snyder, who had to hold between first and second to see if the ball was going to drop. Instead of a hit for Ojeda, the play became a forceout.

LF Matt Holliday smacked his first triple of the season in the first inning, scoring 1B Albert Pujols, who had singled. Holliday is not having the season many had expected, but he has 26 multi-hit games, tops on the team.

The Cardinals failed to get to 10 games over .500, which would have marked the third time they had been there this year. They were 18-8 on May 3, and they were 33-23 on June 5. They haven't gone beyond 10 over .500.

Backup C Jason LaRue handled veteran RHP Jeff Suppan for the third straight game. LaRue was spelling regular C Yadier Molina, who is stuck in a 3-for-41 free-fall. In LaRue's 11 starts this season, the Cardinals have lost nine, but none of those starts has come with RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP Adam Wainwright or LHP Jaime Garcia on the mound.

Wednesday's game took a dreadfully long 3 hours, 53 minutes, the longest in the five-year history of new Busch Stadium. "The pace of the game was definitely not entertaining," manager Tony La Russa said. "It was definitely a labor out there."

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.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

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 26-30. He is day-to-day.

RHP Chris Carpenter (bruised right forearm) was hit by a line drive June 28. His availability for his scheduled July 3 start is uncertain.

3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28.

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 played catch for the first time since the surgery June 28.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw in the bullpen for 20 minutes June 28 but is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.


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