Cardinals Major League Notebook: 10/01/10

Chris Carpenter tossed a complete-game victory over Colorado on Thursday at Busch Stadium.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Chris Carpenter, at age 35 and having had to rebound from a host of elbow and shoulder problems during his career, became the first big-league pitcher to make 35 starts this season.

Reaching his single-season best, Carpenter made No. 35 one of his signature games of the year, pitching his first complete game of 2010. Colorado had just four hits off Carpenter, who threw only 100 pitches.

The win came after Carpenter (16-9) had lost four straight decisions in which he had allowed four or more runs in an inning in each game.

"There's no question that tonight my stuff was better than it's been all year," he said. "I was sinking the ball well. I was commanding both sides of the plate with my fastball. My cutter was the best it's been. My breaking ball I threw for strikes for the most part. And I threw a few really good changeups."

Manager Tony La Russa, who has had Carpenter for seven seasons now, said, "This is one of the few years that he has that kind of year and we don't go to October. He's such an important barometer for the kind of year we're going to have.

"He's ready to pitch longer. Unfortunately, he's not going to."

CARDINALS 6, ROCKIES 1: The Cardinals had lost nine games out of 10 to Colorado over the last two seasons before RHP Chris Carpenter held the Rockies to four hits and rookie C Matt Pagnozzi had two hits and knocked in two runs. 1B Albert Pujols took over the league RBI lead at 118 with a first-inning double.

NOTES AND QUOTES

1B Albert Pujols suffered a mild hamstring strain when running the bases Thursday. He already was not scheduled to play Saturday, and Friday's appearance might be in question. Pujols is seeking his first National League RBI title. He has 118, one ahead of Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez, who didn't play Thursday.

Since manager Tony La Russa's three employers in his managerial career—Chicago White Sox, Oakland, St. Louis—all are out of the postseason for one of the few times in his 15 seasons with the Cardinals, he doesn't have any team to pull for in postseason play this year. "I pull for the coaches that I know and managers that I know," he said. La Russa probably knows virtually everybody. But he said, "I'm closer to some than others."

CF Colby Rasmus had his 32nd hit in September with a single in the third inning Thursday. That is the most hits Rasmus has had in any month during his two-year career.

C Matt Pagnozzi extended his hitting streak to five games (9-for-18), and his two RBI on Thursday gave the rookie seven in that span. "But the most important thing was that he caught a very good game," manager Tony La Russa said. Pagnozzi was handling RHP Chris Carpenter for the first time.

LF Matt Holliday was hit above the left elbow by a pitch in the first inning but played the rest of the game. Holliday has missed only four games this season, and 1B Albert Pujols has missed just three.

By the Numbers:

2 - Saves blown by RH reliever Ryan Franklin, the Cardinals' closer, through the first 25 weeks of the season. The problem was that he had only 28 save chances in that time.

 

Quote to Note:

 

"Mind-boggling."

 

- Manager Tony La Russa, about his team dropping eight straight games to teams with losing records before finally winning at Pittsburgh.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

1B Albert Pujols (mild hamstring strain) was hurt Sept. 30. He may not play Oct. 1, and he was already scheduled for a day off Oct. 2.

LF Matt Holliday (bruised left elbow) was hit by a pitch in the first inning Sept. 30 but played the rest of the game.

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 was activated Sept. 29.

RHP Adam Wainwright (right forearm strain) was shut down for the season Sept. 28.

RHP Blake Hawksworth (mouth, lip lacerations) was struck in the face by a line drive Sept. 25 and was hospitalized for observation. He was discharged from the hospital Sept. 26 after requiring almost 30 stitches to close wounds in his mouth and upper lip. He won't pitch again this season.

C Yadier Molina (sore right knee) hasn't played since Sept. 21. An MRI on Sept. 22 found inflammation in the knee, and he was shut down for the season.

LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) missed starts Sept. 18 and Sept. 23, and the Cardinals announced Sept. 24 that he had been shut down for the season.

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. He has announced that he will retire.

3B David Freese (right ankle surgery in August 2010, left ankle surgery in September 2010) 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. He underwent surgery on the left ankle a month later, but he expects to be ready for spring training.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. 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 that 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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