Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/04/10

A return to home cooking helped the Cardinals eke out a narrow 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds Friday night.



A sellout crowd of 43,540 Friday at Busch Stadium was just the tonic for the Cardinals, who were coming off a 2-8 trip and had lost five games in a row.

"The fans were just as upset as we are," said Kyle McClellan, one of three relievers who helped Jaime Garcia to his 13th win of the season. "I've lived (in St. Louis) my whole life. You come off the road trip and I was kind of wondering ... were we going to have any fans here? Were they going to show up? Were they going to be loud?"

All three questions were answered to McClellan's satisfaction. "This is why they say they're the greatest fans in baseball," he said.

The Cardinals, after a 3-2 win over the Reds, still are seven games behind Cincinnati in the National League Central Division race and 5 1/2 out of the wild-card lead. They don't necessarily need to be looking at the standings until they get a little closer. But McClellan said, "I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't know who was doing what. But, ultimately, what it comes to is we've got to take care of our business. We have to win and keep winning. We can do it."

Asked if Friday's win might be the start of something big, McClellan said, "It's got to be the start of something, because, if not, then we're running out of time. We've put ourselves in a deep hole, but we've got nothing to do but fight and give everything we've got to get out of it."

CARDINALS 3, REDS 2: LHP Jaime Garcia beat the Reds for the fourth straight time as he posted his 13th win. His streak of innings without allowing an earned run ended at 22 2/3, but he worked 6 2/3 strong innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.


LHP Jaime Garcia was given a couple of extra days' rest before his start Friday. It was his 18th quality start of the season. And he also had two hits, including his first double, making him 4-for-4 this year against Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo.

The Cardinals have beaten the Reds 11 times in 16 meetings this year. They are 21-24 against the rest of the National League Central, which ultimately could be their undoing if they don't make the playoffs.

The Cards have 30 games remaining in the season, 16 at home and 14 on the road. "We're looking to win series and we pretty much have got to win every series," said RHP Ryan Franklin, who gained his 23rd save. The Cardinals have given Franklin little to save in the last five weeks and, in fact, he has just four saves since July 28.

There will be no days off the rest of the way. A rescheduled rainout will be played at Florida on Sept. 20, meaning the Cardinals will play the last 31 days in succession.

2B Skip Schumaker, making a late season run as his average has climbed over .270, had his fifth multi-hit game in his last eight games. It appears, for the most part, that he has regained the leadoff role he has had for the last few seasons—Felipe Lopez, who didn't play Friday, is locked in an 8-for-69 dive that has sent his average to .238.

Manager Tony La Russa, responding to a statement by Houston INF Geoff Blum who said the Cardinals didn't seem to be showing much urgency to beat the Astros in a recent series, said, "We got beat 3-0 twice. And when that's happened, you're not going to look like a club taking extra bases because you're not on base. I think it's fair to characterize our club on that road trip, and even the last homestand, as a club struggling to make things happen. But I don't agree. There are guys in this clubhouse who I don't think you can say are underachieving. But there's no doubt that on the last homestand (2-5) and this road trip (2-8) we did not achieve wins."

By the Numbers:

1.336 - 1B Albert Pujols' OPS for August, with three games remaining.


Quote to Note:

"If it happens, it happens. But I don't want to stand here thinking about it."

- Albert Pujols, on his chances for the Triple Crown.




Medical Watch:

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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