Perhaps the Cardinals' most important homestand of the season began Thursday night, and the team rose to the occasion with one of its most fundamentally sound games of the season.
There was no-walk pitching from Chris Carpenter (who won his 10th game in 13 decisions by working eight innings of one-run ball) and by Mitchell Boggs, who fanned two of the three men he faced in the ninth. Carpenter was strong after having six days of rest since his last start.
Of the Cardinals' seven runs, three of them scored without the benefit of a hit -- on two infield grounders, both of which came with the hitter down in the count, and a sacrifice fly.
"Up and down the lineup, we had a lot of guys do a bunch of good things," manager Tony La Russa said.
Rookies Allen Craig and Jon Jay drove in a total of three runs. Craig's two RBI were the first of his career. However, he went 0-for-2, dropping his average to .048 (1-for-21). Jay, getting only one at-bat in relief of Craig, doubled home a run to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest on the club this season.
"(Jay) is doing a great job. With (Ryan) Ludwick out, he's going to play the rest of the weekend," La Russa said. "This is an opportunity for him."
The contributions of Jay and Craig will be significant, as Ludwick (strained right calf) still isn't ready to return for another week or so.
"We're going to go series to series with him," La Russa said. "It's possible he won't play this homestand."
Craig, in his third tour with the team this year, was recalled earlier in the day when outfielder Nick Stavinoha was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a right shoulder injury suffered when he dived for a ball Sunday in Houston. Craig had started the season with the Cardinals but, used sparingly, went 1-for-19 before being sent out the first time.
CARDINALS 7, DODGERS
1: After losing
seven straight to Los Angeles over the last two seasons, including all three in
the divisional playoffs last year, the Cardinals seemed much more ready to play
than did the visitors on a steamy, 90-degree-plus night in St. Louis. Chris
Carpenter, apparently savoring the warm weather, raised his regular-season
record against the Dodgers to 6-0 with a 1.77 ERA by holding
NOTES AND QUOTES
General manager John Mozeliak was given a three-year extension through 2013. Mozeliak was hired after the 2007 season and helped build a division-champion team with the Cardinals in 2009.
2B Aaron Miles, who had been 3-for-6 against Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw, got the start against Kershaw on Thursday and had two singles, drove in a run and scored a run besides playing well in the field. Miles has hit safely in his last four starts.
C Yadier Molina, who had hit .223 in the first half, had his first two-hit game since June 28 and only his second since June 13. "The dugout erupts when he gets that second single," manager Tony La Russa said. "That shows how much respect he's got."
RHP Adam Ottavino's season is over. The club announced that Ottavino will have to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a tear in the shoulder. The rookie was 0-2 with an 8.46 ERA in five games, three starts.
RHP Brad Penny, out since May 21 with upper back and shoulder issues, isn't expected back for several more weeks, if at all this year. Penny was beginning to throw bullpen sessions and was about ready to go on a rehabilitation option when he experienced triceps pain, which may have escalated into something more.
RHP Kyle Lohse, who had forearm surgery six weeks ago, will throw a bullpen session Saturday.
By the Numbers:
7-for-72 - Hits and at-bats for slumping All-Star C Yadier Molina as the first half ended.
Quote to Note:
"The key is to have a good atmosphere in the clubhouse where guys care about each other and trust each other and go about their business. I think we have that."
- Manager Tony La Russa, on the club's chemistry.
RF Nick Stavinoha (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12.
RF Ryan Ludwick (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 26. He may not return to the lineup until the last week of July.
CF Colby Rasmus (sore right hamstring) left the July 9 game and didn't play July 10. He did not start July 11, although he did deliver a pinch-hit RBI single. He returned to the lineup July 15.
RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He will undergo season-ending surgery.
3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28. He is not expected to return before late July.
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 June 28 for the first time since the surgery. He will throw a bullpen session July 17.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 due to tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. He probably won't return to the Cardinals until August and might be out for the year.