Cardinals Major League Notebook: 09/07/10

The Cardinals defeated the Brewers in Milwaukee on Monday on the heels of Yadier Molina's second career grand slam.



Gradually, the Cardinals are digging themselves out of the huge hole they created for themselves when they lost eight of 10 games on a disastrous trip to Pittsburgh, Washington and Houston.

Catcher Yadier Molina's grand slam provided the winning margin Monday as the Cardinals won for the third time in the last four games and gained ground on Cincinnati and Philadelphia, whom they trail in the division and wild-card races, respectively. "From now on, we have to win," said Molina. "That's the rule."

There are 27 games left, which the Cardinals will play in 27 days. "We'd certainly like to quietly inch our way back into this and look up and be two games back with two weeks to go," shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "That would be pretty nice."

After Matt Holliday had poked an opposite-field single on a two-strike pitch to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth and Pedro Feliz had added another run with a hit, Molina, who has a sore knee, came to bat with the bases loaded and one out.

"All the way through the at-bat, I was thinking about a flyball," said Molina. "You never want to hit a groundball there. Never. No matter if I've got a bad knee or not, you never want to hit a groundball there."

Right-hander Jake Westbrook reeled off his seventh straight start of at least six innings. Only once has he given up more than three runs. But only once has he gained a victory.

Yet, though he didn't win Monday, the Cardinals did win for the second time in his starts. "Six innings. Two runs. That's not too bad," said Westbrook.

CARDINALS 8, BREWERS 6: The Cardinals survived two homers by Milwaukee RF Corey Hart and another by 2B Rickie Weeks as reliever Ryan Franklin got Brewers 1B Prince Fielder, who represented the tying run, on a groundball to first base to end the game in the ninth. C Yadier Molina's grand slam was the second his career. The other came on Opening Day in Cincinnati. The Cardinals made the most of seven hits, stranding just four runners.


Manager Tony La Russa said he is weary of discussing whether CF Colby Rasmus had asked to be traded and what is perceived as an adversarial relationship between the two. But, to the theory that one or the other would have to go next year, La Russa said, "It's one of the most incorrect evaluations and analyses that I can ever remember. To say that in 2011, either I'm going to be gone or he's going to be gone. … Our relationship is nowhere near that."

C Yadier Molina, bothered by swelling in his right knee, will miss a start Tuesday or Wednesday, manager Tony La Russa said. Molina had been nothing for his last 10 before singling and hitting a grand slam on Monday.

INF Felipe Lopez, 8 for his last 71 (.113), finished up at second base on Monday and will get a start either Tuesday or Wednesday, or both, because Milwaukee has two left-handers, Chris Narveson and Chris Capuano, scheduled to pitch.

Nobody else will be recalled from Class AAA Memphis just yet. The Redbirds, the defending league champions, won their division in the Pacific Coast League by rallying to beat Iowa, 7-6, in the final game of the season Monday at Des Moines. The best-of-five, first-round playoff series with Oklahoma City will begin on Wednesday in Memphis.

RHP Kyle Lohse, who has made one good start and two bad ones since coming off the disabled list, will start for the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Milwaukee. Of the confidence Lohse must be lacking until he has more success, manager Tony La Russa said, "He's not going there feeling like he's King Kong."

By the Numbers:

22-24 - 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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