Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/28/10

Big guns Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday homered behind Jaime Garcia in Friday night's win over the Nationals.



When the Cardinals dragged out of Nationals Park late Thursday night after a bitter, 13-inning loss, they didn't know if they would have either one of their two sluggers, Albert Pujols, who suffered a sprained right ankle, or Matt Holliday, who was hit in the left hand by a pitch, on Friday against Washington. But both played and both hit solo homers -- the difference as the Cardinals snapped a losing streak at three.

Holliday, who hit his 23rd homer, said his hand felt fine. "No issues," he said.

Pujols likewise was unaffected as he hit career homer No. 401 (35th of the season), one night after banging No. 400. The Cardinals, however, were without starting catcher Yadier Molina, who suffered a knee injury while running out a groundout in the 12th inning the previous night.

But rookie catcher Bryan Anderson handled his first big-league win in his third start and fellow rookie Jaime Garcia extended his streak of innings of not allowing an earned run to 20 1/3. Garcia had breezed in shutting out San Francisco on three hits the previous Sunday, but he had to get used to pitching from the stretch Friday.

Garcia allowed eight hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings but stranded all those runners (one was swallowed up in a double play) as he fanned seven and posted his 12th win in 18 games, strengthening his candidacy for Rookie of the Year honors.

"He has the repertoire to give hitters a lot of different looks," said manager Tony La Russa.

"You've just got to find a way," said Garcia, who worked just 37 2/3 innings last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The bullpen, for the most part, was effective. Mitchell Boggs rescued Garcia from a bases-loaded spot in the sixth. Left-hander Trever Miller got three outs in the seventh after Boggs walked the leadoff man. And Kyle McClellan, though he allowed a solo homer to pinch hitter Willie Harris, picked off Nyjer Morgan at first just ahead of Harris' homer.

Closer Ryan Franklin, who blew a two-run lead the night before while throwing 32 pitches, had to toss 23 more in the ninth but escaped with his 22nd save after giving up a run.

CARDINALS 4, NATIONALS 2: The Cardinals stopped their losing streak against last-place teams at three games as they took advantage of three Washington misplays to score two runs in the third inning. LF Matt Holliday's 23rd homer gave him 80 runs batted in for the season, and 1B Albert Pujols' 35th home run boosted his RBI total to 94.


C Yadier Molina didn't start Friday because of some right knee inflammation after he jammed his leg at first base while running out a 12th-inning ground ball in Thursday night's 11-10 loss. C Bryan Anderson took Molina's place, catching LHP Jaime Garcia for the first time in the majors. Molina might not be able to play on Saturday, either.

The acquisition of 3B Pedro Feliz has been nothing but golden so far. Feliz extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single and also made a strong barehanded grab and throw on a slow roller by 2B Alberto Gonzalez.

RHP Jason Motte should be back this weekend. Motte, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, worked two perfect innings in his second rehabilitation assignment Friday at Class AAA Memphis. Motte struck out one while throwing 27 pitches.

CF Colby Rasmus missed his 10th straight start as he continued to rest his strained right calf. He might be able to play either Saturday or Sunday, but also could be held out until the series at Houston, which begins on Monday.

LHP Jaime Garcia's 12th win is the most by a Cardinals rookie since RHP Matt Morris won 12 games in 1997. Morris was 12-9 that year. Garcia is 12-6.

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:

C Yadier Molina (sore right knee) did not start on Aug. 27. He is day-to-day.

1B Albert Pujols (sore right ankle) was hurt chasing a foul ball Aug. 26, though he stayed in the game. He was back in the lineup 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 and was in the lineup Aug. 27.

INF Felipe Lopez (possible sore arm) was removed from the Aug. 26 game because manager Tony La Russa thought he was hurting. He was in the lineup Aug. 27.

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 but missed his 10th straight start Aug. 27.

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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