Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/08/10

Closer Ryan Franklin faltered in Miami Saturday night, tagged with a blown save and a loss, wasting a nice comeback and another solid start by Jake Westbrook.

A two-run ninth inning to retake the lead was wasted just a few minutes later when closer Ryan Franklin served up a home run to the Marlins Dan Uggla to start the bottom of the ninth.

Franklin then served up a game-winning double in the bottom of the 10th inning, turning what was almost an improbable win into a disappointing loss at Sun Life Stadium Saturday night.

Hanley Ramirez' hit to right-center scored Chad Tracy from first with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Marlins a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. The Cardinals dropped to 1 ½ games behind the division leading Cincinnati Reds, who won earlier in the day in Chicago.

A two-out hit by Yadier Molina tied the game at 3 in the top of the ninth and Aaron Miles followed with a hit up the middle to put the Cardinals in front.

But Franklin gave the lead back when Uggla launched a long homer to left to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Then came the first career walk-off hit for Ramirez in the 10th, assuring the Cardinals will be in second place when they arrive in Cincinnati for a big three-game series that starts Monday night.

"It's tough but there were a lot of heroes," manager Tony La Russa told reporters. "You just take care of what you can do and if the other side has the last hero, you tip your cap to them. We had great at-bats against one of the better pitchers around. He's as good as anybody. We didn't quit. Their reliever has 20-something saves and we manufactured something. We had a hell of a game. Our starting pitcher was great. Sometimes you just tip your cap to the other side."

Jake Westbrook made his second start for the Cardinals, allowing three earned runs in seven impressive innings of work. The right-hander had a season-high nine strikeouts, and should have had a 10th strikeout if not for a missed call by plate umpire Wally Bell on a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner to Donnie Murphy with two outs in the seventh. Murphy launched the next pitch into the seats for a home run to temporarily put the Marlins up 3-2.

Westbrook, who walked none, has a 3.56 ERA in two starts with the Cardinals but doesn't have a win or a loss to show for it. The Cardinals have lost both games Westbrook has started in heart-breaking fashion.

"I felt really strong out there," Westbrook told reporters. "I was able to make some pitches when I needed to, but I also made some mistakes when I didn't need to. I didn't do a very good job of putting up a zero after we took the lead there in the fourth, and then obviously I made a mistake to Murphy there in the seventh. I just need to do a better job of putting up a zero there in the fourth, that's what I'm most upset about."

Westbrook left with the Cardinals trailing 3-2 against Florida ace Josh Johnson, but the Cardinals rallied for two runs against closer Leo Nunez.

But it was all for nothing, as Franklin allowed multiple runs for the second straight appearance. The Cardinals will look to avoid falling further behind the Reds when Jeff Suppan takes the hill Sunday afternoon in the series finale.

"I was throwing well and I made three mistakes and they hit all three of them," Franklin said. "That pretty much sums it up.

"I had a problem getting the ball down a little bit. The pitch to Uggla was supposed to be away and it ran back over the plate. I was just flying open with my front side. That's not usually the way I pitch. I just have to keep the ball down.

"I'm not going to give any excuses at all because there aren't any. I made some mistakes and they hit them. That's the way it goes. That's baseball."

Schumaker dealing with sprained wrist

Skip Schumaker was out of the Cardinals lineup for a second straight game Saturday while dealing with a sprained left wrist.

Schumaker originally injured the wrist against the Anaheim Angels in late May and has been dealing off and on with pain ever since. He received a cortisone shot Wednesday and hopes to return to the lineup Monday when the Cardinals open a crucial three-game series in Cincinnati.

"It's been bothering me a little bit and I felt like it was a good time to (get the cortisone shot) with the off day Thursday," Schumaker told Jim Hayes on the Fox Sports Midwest pregame show. "It feels a lot better now."

With left-handed starter Sean West scheduled to pitch for the Marlins Sunday, Schumaker will get another day off in hopes of being ready to go on Monday.

Schumaker is hitting .257 this season despite hitting at least .300 in each of the last three seasons.

Lohse to make fourth rehab start

Pitching coach Dave Duncan confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Saturday that rehabbing starter Kyle Lohse will make at least one more rehab start before he rejoins the Cardinals rotation.

Lohse had hoped his start two days ago for Double-A Springfield would be his last before rejoining the Cardinals, but the right-hander was roughed up for 12 hits and five runs in five innings.

The Cardinals had penciled in Aug 13 vs. the Cubs as a possible day for Lohse's return, but Jake Westbrook will take the ball on normal rest instead and Lohse will start somewhere in the minor leagues on Tuesday while his teammates are battling the Reds in Cincinnati.

Lohse said following Thursday's game that he hoped he wouldn't have to make another rehab start and the Post-Dispatch reported Saturday afternoon that the right-hander apparently wasn't happy with the Cardinals decision to send him back for another minor league outing.

"Nobody likes (the minor leagues)," Duncan told the Post-Dispatch. "It's crappy travel. It's crappy going through it. But you've got to be ready to pitch here.

"There were some positives. It's just like Alan Benes (who watched Lohse's rehab start) said. There were a lot of good pitches and a lot of bad pitches.

"Control and the consistency of the pitches aren't there yet."

Lohse hasn't started a big league game since May 22.



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