Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/27/10

Despite Albert Pujols' 400th home run, the Cardinals lost to the Nationals in 13 innings Thursday. Pujols and Matt Holliday suffered injuries, as well, in a bad night all around.



Injuries were added to insult, which was added to history for the Cardinals on Thursday night.

Albert Pujols belted the 400th homer of his career before his 10th season was over, making him the first player to achieve that feat.

But before the night was over, Pujols injured his right ankle when he slipped trying to jump on the tarpaulin chasing a foul ball in the 11th inning. Moving gingerly, he stayed in the game, but Matt Holliday, the Cardinals' cleanup hitter, had to come out of the game an inning after he was hit in the meaty part of the left wrist by a pitch from Washington's Drew Storen in the ninth inning.

Holliday said, however, "It hit me in a good spot," and didn't seem too concerned afterward.

Pujols, after something of an ecstasy-agony night -- he is the 47th member of the 400-homer club -- was a little more concerned, although he said he thought he could play Friday.

"I can't tell until I show up at the ball park tomorrow," he said. "(The ankle) is pretty sore right now. It was pretty scary. (Manager Tony La Russa) asked me if I wanted to come out of the game. It was never comfortable. But I knew it was going to take more than that to take me out of the game."

As for hitting 400, Pujols said, "It's something pretty special. It's a special milestone. But you really don't play for numbers. To get to the postseason -- that's the goal for everybody."

He said there would be time to look back at the numbers when he is through with his career.

"The way I play, hopefully the fans enjoy it," he said. "And maybe someday I'll have an opportunity to be in Cooperstown (at the Hall of Fame)."

Despite a rare, poor start by Chris Carpenter and some atrocious defense from shortstop Felipe Lopez, who was lifted from the game after three innings as La Russa thought Lopez had a sore arm, the Cardinals were two outs away from victory when closer Ryan Franklin surrendered a two-run homer in the ninth inning to Washington's Roger Bernadina.

Ultimately, Blake Hawksworth, who had thrown 29 pitches the night before, hit the first batter he faced in the 13th inning, and then the game ended on an infield hit.

The Cardinals fell for the third straight night to a last-place team (Pittsburgh, Washington) and dropped four games behind Cincinnati in the National League Central and 1 1/2 games behind wild-card leader San Francisco.

"Tough game," La Russa said. "We did a lot of good things. We messed up a few, and we ended up on the short end of it."

NATIONALS 11, CARDINALS 10 (13 innings): RF Randy Winn had his best game as a Cardinal with four hits and three RBI. 1B Albert Pujols cracked his league-leading 34th homer of the season and 400th of his career and then doubled before he drew three intentional walks and hurt his ankle. But the Cardinals fell to 1-3 on a critical 10-game trip on which they may need to win six games and perhaps seven to stay alive in the NL Central race.


3B Pedro Feliz has played well since joining the Cardinals. In the seven games he has played since coming from Houston, Feliz hasn't made an error, and he's hit safely in every game. He connected for his fourth two-hit game in that span Thursday.

The Cardinals' decline can be traced, in part, to failure to hit in the clutch. In both the 12th and 13th innings Thursday, the Cardinals had the leadoff man at second with nobody out, and on both occasions that runner was stranded at second. Additionally, after they had taken a two-run lead in the top of the ninth on RF Randy Winn's third of four hits, C Yadier Molina bounced into an inning-ending double play. Of the 12th and 13th inning misses, manager Tony La Russa said, "Normally, if you don't execute those, you're going to get beat."

RHP Ryan Franklin blew a two-run lead in the ninth but did not blow the save because he had come into the game in the eighth when the Cardinals were trailing. Manager Tony La Russa sent him out for a second inning because Franklin had been used just once in eight days. "He was well rested," La Russa said.

RHP Chris Carpenter gave up six runs, although only three of them were earned, in six innings. It was his ninth straight start in which he had allowed three earned runs or fewer, but he didn't deny that he wasn't very good Thursday. He gave up 10 hits and struck out just one. "As the game went on, my location got a little worse," Carpenter said. "Unfortunately, I didn't pitch well enough tonight to give my team a chance." Manager Tony La Russa said, "He got a little out of sorts."

The Cardinals are 27-34 on the road this year, compared to 41-23 at home.

By the Numbers:

47 - Innings the Cardinals went without having a lead before they finally grabbed the lead on Saturday night.


Quote to Note:


"I'm not a .220 hitter."


- New Cardinals 3B Pedro Feliz.




Medical Watch:

1B Albert Pujols (sore right ankle) was hurt chasing a foul ball Aug. 26, though he stayed in the game. His status will be assessed Aug. 27.

LF Matt Holliday (sore left wrist) left the Aug. 26 game after being hit by a pitch. He didn't believe the injury was serious.

INF Felipe Lopez (possible sore arm) was removed from the Aug. 26 game because manager Tony La Russa thought he was hurting.

CF Colby Rasmus (leg cramp) left the Aug. 15 game. He pinch-hit Aug. 17 and 18, but he didn't play Aug. 20-25. He pinch-hit again Aug. 26.

LHP Dennys Reyes (left elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 16. He might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.

RHP Jeff Suppan (sore right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. He threw a three-inning simulated game Aug. 17 and said he felt no pain.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He began a rehab assignment Aug. 25 with Class AAA Memphis.

C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He won't need surgery, but he is out for the season.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he 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 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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