Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/29/10

The Cardinals blew a six-run lead but came back to defeat the Mets in 13 innings Wednesday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

How strange was Wednesday's game in New York? Starters Johan Santana and Jaime Garcia, who had allowed just five hits and no runs total as each worked seven innings the first time they had matched up in April (the game went 20 innings), gave up eight runs between them in the first inning.

The Cardinals scored six runs in the first off Santana and couldn't win in nine innings. And, no doubt for the first time as a big-leaguer, Albert Pujols was retired twice in the same inning.

But, four-plus hours after the game started, Pujols did something he has done quite often in his career -- delivered the game-winning hit. After going hitless in his first three at-bats, extending his skid to 1-for-23, Pujols had three hits in his final four at-bats, including a two-out, run-scoring single to win the game in the 13th inning.

The winning pitcher was an unusual one, too. Right-hander Mike MacDougal, who joined the team in the afternoon from Class AAA Memphis, worked a perfect 12th inning to record the victory. Right-hander Ryan Franklin nailed down his 19th save in 20 opportunities.

"We refused to lose, actually, because we gave ourselves a chance," manager Tony La Russa said.

Unsung hero? Probably left-hander Trever Miller, who had been struggling but worked two scoreless innings, the 10th and 11th, after right-hander Mitch Boggs was charged with four runs in the eighth, with left-hander Dennys Reyes surrendering a key two-run single to pinch hitter Ike Davis.

"That was kind of an ugly eighth, but we showed a lot of guts hanging in there," La Russa said.

Garcia probably was unsung, too. Lost in the shuffle was his two-run single in the first after a nine-pitch at-bat to help the Cardinals to their early six-run lead. Those were Garcia's first two runs batted in as a big-leaguer. Garcia, who had left the ball up too much in the first inning, righted himself and allowed only one run over his final five innings.

The teams don't get much time to rest. The series finale will begin just Thursday afternoon in New York, less than 12 hours after the previous game ended. The bullpen was worked hard Wednesday, and right-hander Blake Hawksworth, who will start Thursday, has had trouble getting past five innings.

CARDINALS 8, METS 7 (13 innings): The Cardinals built a six-run lead in the top of the first inning and promptly lost it, but 1B Albert Pujols delivered the go-ahead single in the 13th after his slump had reached 1-for-23 early in the game. He had been only a .265 hitter on the road this season. It was a rare road win lately for the Cardinals, who are only 22-29 away from home and 18-27 after the first trip of the season. In the two matchups between Cardinals LHP Jaime Garcia and Mets LHP Johan Santana this season, the games have lasted a total of 33 innings.

NOTES AND QUOTES

GM John Mozeliak, on the road with the team in New York, said he didn't think the Cardinals would be making any deals for an infielder but he said he still was searching for a starting pitcher. Although RHP Kyle Lohse (forearm surgery) has done well so far on a rehab assignment, Mozeliak said Lohse's progress was not a "linchpin" as far as the Cardinals seeking another starter. Cleveland's Jake Westbrook likely is one of the starters the Cardinals are pursuing.

RHP Mike MacDougal, who had 20 saves for Washington last year, had his contract purchased from Class AAA Memphis, and RHP Fernando Salas, who pitched two innings Tuesday, was sent out for a fifth time. MacDougal was 2-0 with one save and a 3.86 ERA at Memphis after opting out of his minor league deal with the Nationals. MacDougal got three easy outs in his Cardinals debut in the 12th, gaining the win. Manager Tony La Russa had been on the telephone earlier in the day with Class AAA manager Chris Maloney, and La Russa said Maloney told him that MacDougal "has got plenty left. And he showed it."

OF Jon Jay continued his hot streak. The rookie had three hits and a walk and scored the winning run after grounding into a forceout in the 13th inning. He is hitting .385.

LF Matt Holliday highlighted the six-run first inning off LHP Johan Santana with his 19th homer. Holliday, who hit safely in his 13th straight game, also had a run-scoring double off Santana in the sixth. He is riding the longest hitting streak of the season for a Cardinal.

Manager Tony La Russa took himself to task for removing RHP Jason Motte from the game in the eighth after Motte, entering with two men on base, had retired Mets RF Jeff Francouer on a fly to left for the second out. New York manager Jerry Manuel had only left-handed hitters remaining on his bench and rookie C Jason Thole, another left-handed batter, was the next hitter. So, La Russa brought in LHP Dennys Reyes, who promptly walked Thole and then allowed a two-run, game-tying single by left-handed-hitting PH Ike Davis. "I probably should have left Motte in to face (Thole)," La Russa said. "I'm not real happy with that move, no matter how it turns out."

By the Numbers:

15 - Number of extra-base hits for rookie OF Jon Jay out of 36 hits in his first 93 big-league at-bats.

Quote to Note:

"Everybody is looking for help. We're assuming we won't get any and we win with what we've got."

- Manager Tony La Russa, hoping a trade will be made but prepared for nothing to happen before July 31.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

RF Nick Stavinoha (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12. He began a rehab assignment on July 26.

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 or early August.

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. Lohse begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 26 and could return to the Cardinals in August.

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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