Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/21/10

The Cardinals grew their winning streak to seven with the support of an unlikely player, outfielder Randy Winn.



Tuesday's win was the Cardinals' seventh straight, matching a streak that spanned the All-Star break in 2006, the year St. Louis won the World Series.

Randy Winn doesn't necessarily need that. He would just like to be in the playoffs once.

Winn had played 1,601 big-league games before the season began without ever having been in the postseason. That is the most by any active player, and that's why he signed with the Yankees in the offseason. But New York let Winn go after he hit .213 in 61 at-bats.

Given another chance in St. Louis, Winn's production probably ranks as a surprise. Homering for the second night in succession Tuesday besides singling, walking and stealing a base, Winn is hitting .292 in 72 at-bats.

Manager Tony La Russa, careful to monitor Winn's playing time so as not to wear him down, said, "He's been a tough out ever since he showed up, but he's done some dramatic things lately."

The Cardinals have reached a plateau of 12 games over .500 for the first time since the end of last season.

"We're playing at a high level," La Russa said. "We're doing a lot of good things, but we're not mistake-proof."

CARDINALS 7, PHILLIES 1: The Cardinals, who were faced with a daunting post-All-Star-break homestand of eight games against the Dodgers and Phillies, the other two defending division champions in the National League, have run off six straight wins so far with two games to go. RHP Chris Carpenter posted a league-leading 41st win by a St. Louis starter by holding Philadelphia to five hits and one run in eight innings.

The Cardinals' infielders had several missteps in the second inning, but Carpenter pitched around them by getting Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins to hit into a double play.


LF Matt Holliday, who got hot about the same time last year, has 31 RBI and 11 home runs since June 18, the most in the league in both categories. His home run Tuesday was a 424-foot shot to dead center.

3B David Freese's rehabilitation from a bone bruise on his right ankle, already a month in progress, has been impacted by a new injury. He cracked his left big toe by dropping a 75-pound weight on it while working out. Even so, Freese expects to begin a rehab assignment sometime next week. "Once I can tolerate the pain, I'll go back to work," he said.

Manager Tony La Russa said he didn't think the broken toe would affect Freese's already lengthy stay on the disabled list. "He's not that close yet," La Russa said. "He's still restricted, limited, however you want to put it. It would have been a bigger moment if his rehab (assignment) was imminent."

2B Skip Schumaker was a late scratch when he still had discomfort in his left wrist, which he injured on a diving play Monday. Schumaker was replaced by Aaron Miles, who had two hits Tuesday and well could play again Wednesday against Philadelphia RHP Joe Blanton. Miles has had two hits in each of his last four starts and is batting .341 since being brought up from the minors. Miles had been let go by Cincinnati in spring training.

RF Ryan Ludwick, who homered in his first at-bat for Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday night, played five innings in the outfield as he tested his strained left calf. Ludwick is likely to play another two or three rehab games with Memphis before a decision would be made whether to activate him.

By the Numbers:

15-3 - Cardinals' regular-season record at new Busch Stadium against the Dodgers since the park opened in 2006. That doesn't count Los Angeles' division series-clinching game at Busch last October.

Quote to Note:

"When he shut it down, it wasn't like he had been pushed to air it out. That makes you believe it's a very uncertain situation."


- Manager Tony La Russa , on still injured RHP Brad Penny, who is showing no improvement from upper back and shoulder ailments.




Medical Watch:

2B Skip Schumaker (sore left wrist) did not play July 20. He is day-to-day.

RF Ryan Ludwick (strained left calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 26. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 20, and he might be activated by the weekend of July 23-25.

RF Nick Stavinoha (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He will not undergo surgery but is probably out for the year.

3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28. He also broke his left big toe in mid-July, but he still expects to begin a rehab assignment in 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 and seems to be making progress.

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 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. He is out indefinitely.

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