The Cardinals lost for the fifth time in seven games Friday, but this defeat came with some upside, unlike some of the others.
First, they erased a one-run San Francisco lead in the ninth inning on shortstop Ryan Theriot's two-out, two-run single after Theriot had fouled off four 3-2 pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat.
Second, they escaped a jam in the 11th inning when manager Tony La Russa went to a five-man infield. Left fielder Allen Craig, who lined up at third base, made a diving backhanded stab on Aaron Rowand's one-out smash down the line, and the Cardinals ran down Andres Torres between third and home.
Rookie right-hander Bryan Augenstein pitched brilliantly to wriggle of the 11th inning. The Giants had a runner at third with nobody out and, after two intentional walks following Craig's great play, Augenstein fanned pinch hitter Mark DeRosa with the bases loaded.
Rowand eventually beat left-hander Brian Tallet in the 12th with a two-out, bases-loaded single off the left-center-field wall. Preceding the winning hit in the Giants' 5-4 victory was a play on which Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols couldn't handle a low throw from Tallet. Pujols may not have seen the ball clearly with Torres running down the line.
Closer Ryan Franklin blew
his second save in three chances when he allowed a two-out, run-scoring single
by Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the ninth inning.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Pujols actually had a pickoff play in mind if
"I don't fault (the play)," La Russa said. "It's worked too many times."
Manager Tony La Russa used a five-man infield for the first time in many years Friday in the 11th inning with a man at third base and no outs. After 2B Freddy Sanchez struck out, the gambit worked, as LF Allen Craig, moved to a normal third base position, made a diving stop on Giants LF Aaron Rowand and caught the runner trying to score. "Sometimes it makes sense," La Russa said. "I thought it would be a good time."
RHP Bryan Augenstein, a rookie, worked out of an 11th-inning jam, scoring many points for himself. "That's another high mark," manager Tony La Russa said. "He never acted like he was rattled or anything. He continues to impress."
2B Tyler Greene became
the last Cardinal to start a game this season. Greene knocked in the
The Cardinals' 2-5 start is their worst since 1997, manager Tony La Russa's second season, when they were 1-6. LHP Brian Tallet, the losing pitcher, said, "We just haven't put it together yet. Right now we are 2-5, and by the St. Louis Cardinals standards, that's unacceptable. We're going to be good. We're going to win ballgames."
A private plane carrying
La Russa, a couple of his coaches and several players to La Russa's fundraising
golf tournament in the Oakland area had to return to a St. Louis airport
Thursday when the plane's cabin failed to pressurize. No one was hurt, and the
traveling party then joined the rest of the team on a later charter flight to
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 - Game out of their first seven in which the Cardinals scored more than three runs.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that's probably really a push."
- Manager Tony La Russa, upon hearing that LF Matt Holliday, who had an appendectomy a week ago, hoped to play Sunday.
LF Matt Holliday (appendectomy) underwent the procedure April 1. He played catch and ran sprints April 5, and the next day he hit indoors for the first time since the surgery. He hopes to play as soon as April 10, but manager Tony La Russa said that was doubtful.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.
INF Nick Punto (hernia surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He hopes to return in late April.