Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/06/10

Matt Holliday made Dusty Baker and the Reds pay for an intentional walk to Albert Pujols as St. Louis took two of three from Cincinnati.



Although first baseman Albert Pujols had had just one hit in his previous six games, Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, who has seen too much of Pujols over the last 10 years, decided to have him walked intentionally with two out in the sixth inning Sunday after right fielder Jon Jay had doubled. The Reds held a 2-1 lead.

Left fielder Matt Holliday has been only a .250 hitter or less with men in scoring position this year, but he foiled the strategy with a three-run, game-winning homer off a 1-2 pitch from Cincinnati right-hander Homer Bailey, and the Cardinals had yet another series victory over the Reds.

In the season series, the Cardinals won 12 of 18 games from the National League Central Division leaders. But they still trail the Reds by seven games with four weeks to go and have no games remaining with them, making their quest to win the division title a long shot.

The Cardinals might better be served looking at a wild-card berth. They don't play Philadelphia or San Francisco, the two teams ahead of them, but they do play backsliding San Diego and Atlanta, which could tumble out of their division leads and slip into wild-card status.

Also, Colorado, which is tied with the Cardinals in the wild-card standings, finishes the season with four games at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have four at home with San Diego and four at Atlanta next weekend.

CARDINALS 4, REDS 2: RHP Chris Carpenter had a season-high 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, and RHP Ryan Franklin gained his second save in three days and 24th of the season. Carpenter is 15-5 after going 17-4 last year.


Manager Tony La Russa confirmed that CF Colby Rasmus had requested to be traded but added that Rasmus, who has had a couple of disagreements with La Russa in his two seasons with the Cardinals, had made a similar request to be traded last year. "I think he's thinking probably the grass is not greener other places and that this is a good situation, a great organization, teammates, everything. That's what I think. You can ask him," La Russa said. Rasmus declined to discuss any trade request nor did he say whether he hoped to remain with the team beyond this season. "I'm not going to say either way," Rasmus said.

RHP Kyle Lohse, passed over the last time through the rotation, will get the start on Tuesday in Milwaukee and, for the moment, will stay in the rotation.

"Kyle gets the ball Tuesday because I think there's an anticipation he's got the best chance to get us a (victory)," manager Tony La Russa said Sunday. "And then that spot comes again (Sunday in Atlanta). So it's an opportunity for him to justify the confidence." Lohse has made three starts since coming back from forearm surgery, winning one.

RHP Kyle Lohse's reinsertion into the rotation moves RHP Jeff Suppan to the bullpen, ostensibly for the rest of the season. Suppan, who just came off the disabled list after suffering a groin injury, has pitched just once since July 31, working four strong innings before weakening in a loss at Houston last Wednesday.

La Russa said that OF Allen Craig and INF Tyler Greene will be called up as soon as Class AAA Memphis finishes its season and possibly LHP Evan MacLane, who was here very briefly earlier in the season.

3B Pedro Feliz's fielding error to start Sunday's game was his first in the 16 games he had played for the team since joining it in a trade with Houston. While solid in the field, Feliz has shown little pop at bat lately, although he did single and also drove in a run Sunday with an infield out.

By the Numbers:

21-24 - Cardinals' record against the rest of the National League Central Division. They finished 12-6 against Cincinnati.


Quote to Note:

"At less than 100 percent, he's still a great player."

- Manager Tony La Russa, saying that 1B Albert Pujols isn't at top form physically in the midst of a recent swoon.




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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