Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/10/10

Skip Schumaker, Chris Carpenter and Brandon Phillips were all in the news as St. Louis beat Cincinnati in game one of their big series Monday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Now that the Cardinals have bagged the first game of a key three-game series in Cincinnati, they can't get hurt too badly no matter what happens. If the Reds win the next two games, the worst the Cardinals can be when they leave town is three games out, with three games still remaining between the teams in St. Louis.

And the Cardinals still have two aces remaining in the series -- Jaime Garcia on Tuesday and staff leader Adam Wainwright (16-6) on Wednesday.

The return of second baseman Skip Schumaker to the lineup was even more than the Cardinals bargained for. Schumaker, who hadn't played since Wednesday because his troublesome left wrist had been bothering him, had two hits and one of those, stunningly, was a grand slam, the first of his career, to highlight a seven-run fourth inning.

"I was just trying to get the ball in the air," said Schumaker. "Everybody gets lucky now and again."

Chris Carpenter, who has had occasional trouble with his curveball, had a good one Monday as he posted his ninth straight win against the Reds and 13th in 16 decisions overall this year.

Manager Tony La Russa said, "He competes against everybody. He's one of those premier starters."

The Cardinals cut the Reds' lead to one game as they beat Cincinnati for the eighth time in 13 outings this season. "We're just trying to win the series," said Schumaker. "We've said that from day one."

The plan against Cincinnati rookie Mike Leake was to make him elevate the ball. "When he was up, we hit him good," said Schumaker.

Not that they needed it, but the Cardinals may have gotten an edge from Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who spoke unflatteringly to the Dayton Daily News about the Cardinals.

"I'd play against these guys on one leg," Phillips said. "We have to beat these guys. All they do is (whine) and moan about everything, all of them. They're little (whiners), all of them. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals."

La Russa had heard about the comment before addressing the media afterward. He tried to keep a lid on his emotions but later followed St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters into the clubhouse to remind them that several former Cardinals, including center fielder Jim Edmonds, now are teammates of Phillips.

"We win the right way. We lose the right way. That's my comment," La Russa said.

Schumaker said Phillips' outburst was "very surprising. It's tough to comment yet. I guess I'll read it (Tuesday). I know what kind of guys we have in this clubhouse. It's far from the truth.

"Let them keep talking and we'll see how it plays out."

CARDINALS 7, CINCINNATI 3: RHP Chris Carpenter blanked Cincinnati for six innings before tiring in the seventh. He did not allow a runner in scoring position until the sixth and made a seven-run fourth inning stand up for his 13th victory.

NOTES AND QUOTES

1B Albert Pujols, hitting safely in his ninth game, had two hits in the fourth inning and also draw his first walk in 12 games. "They're in front of us," said Pujols. "They're in our way. You need to bring your 'A' game to the field."

C Yadier Molina, making his 14th consecutive start, had two hits, making him 27-for-77 since the All-Star break, moving his average to .252.

The Cardinals, attacking Reds RHP Mike Leake early in the count, had six hits in a 12-pitch sequence in the seven-run fourth inning. Leake had been having difficulty lately and the Cardinals exploited that.

RHP Chris Carpenter, whose competitive spirit sometimes rages on the mound, stared down SS Brendan Ryan when the latter was late arriving on the field for the bottom of the first inning and then became further agitated when Ryan noticed that he had brought the wrong glove. Carpenter had words for Ryan after the inning in the tunnel to the dugout.

The Cardinals are 8-5 against the Reds this year and could be better. Of their five losses, four have come by one run while the Cardinals have won just one game in the series by one run.

By the Numbers:

1.22 - RHP Adam Wainwright's earned run average at home in 12 starts. This leads the National League.

 

Quote to Note:

 

"There's no whining in baseball."

 

- GM John Mozeliak, after losing 3B David Freese for the rest of the season with a severe ankle injury that required surgery.

 

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

2B Skip Schumaker (sore left wrist) hadn't played since Aug. 3 but returned Aug. 9.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He hopes to return as soon as he's eligible.

SS Tyler Greene (bruised right hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. Greene was struck by a pitch July 17, and the injury was still bothering him.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He won't need surgery, but he 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. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.

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 began a minor league rehab assignment July 26 and will next start for Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 10.

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. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.


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