Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/02/10

Blake Hawksworth pitched well enough, but the Cardinals again lacked offense in Thursday's home loss to Milwaukee.



For the 27th time in 79 games, the Cardinals scored fewer than three runs Thursday night. They are only 3-24 in those games after being stymied by Milwaukee's Randy Wolf and two relievers. And the Cardinals are only 4-49 when they score three or fewer runs in a game.

In their last seven losses, the Cardinals have scored just 11 runs, managing two or fewer runs in six of those defeats. And the last two days, they've fumbled chances to win when replacement Nos. 4 and 5 starters Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth pitched adequately or better.

Hawksworth, making his third big-league start, gave up only three runs in six innings Thursday, surrendering two home runs. He fanned seven and walked just one. But the Cardinals had only three singles besides Albert Pujols' league-leading 19th home run.

The Cardinals dropped 1 1/2 games off the Reds' pace in the National League Central, tying their largest deficit since May 29.

Pujols homered for the fourth time in his last five games but, in a big at-bat with two on and two out in the eighth, he hit a soft liner to third. In the seventh, the Cardinals had an even better chance with runners at first and third and nobody out. But Colby Rasmus struck out and struggling Yadier Molina, who hit the ball hard in his other three at-bats, rolled over on a sinker and grounded into a double play for the 11th time this season.

BREWERS 4, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals had one of the best home records in baseball at 25-12 but now have lost two home games in a row to sub.-500 teams. Three Milwaukee homers were the key Thursday, as the Cardinals put just two runners into scoring position other than 1B Albert Pujols' 19th homer.


C Yadier Molina is batting .231 after another 0-for-4 night. He has three hits in his last 45 at-bats but did hit three line drives to the outfield Thursday. "Hard to believe, isn't it?" manager Tony La Russa said. "It's a tough game. But I see him come back the next day, he takes a fresh approach and he still catches the heck out of it as well as anybody in baseball. He's very strong mentally. He's not happy. He's not getting hits, but he's not letting it affect his game."

OF Ryan Ludwick remained out with a strained right calf. Manager Tony La Russa said, "You have enough ways to win. Lud is getting better by the day, so I think we'll have an extra weapon off the bench (Friday) or something. We've won this way many times before. Nick (Stavinoha) played for Ludwick and had two hits. How did we suffer? I don't think we suffered."

RHP Chris Carpenter will start Saturday after some initial doubt stemming from the line drive he took off his right forearm in his last start. A big welt resulted, but Carpenter threw his regular side session without incident.

RHP Brad Penny, out since May 21 with a muscle strain in his upper back, threw a bullpen session. The Cardinals are hoping Penny will be able to pitch sometime after the All-Star break. Following the All-Star Game, the Cardinals have eight games at home against Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

RHP Blake Hawksworth, though his record sank to 2-5, turned in his first "quality start" with six innings of three-run ball. Hawksworth is likely to get one or two more starts before the All-Star break, and then his future (starting or relief) probably would depend on RHP Brad Penny's progress and that of veteran RHP Jeff Suppan, who has made four starts with modest success since he signed with the Cardinals as a free agent.

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:

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-July 1. He is day-to-day.

RHP Chris Carpenter (bruised right forearm) was hit by a line drive June 28. He threw a bullpen session July 1, and he is expected to be ready for his July 3 start.

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 will not return before the All-Star break.

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