The Cardinals played their 82nd
game Thursday night, signaling the start of their second half of the season. But
already, Lance Berkman has surpassed anything he did last year.
Berkman, who is almost
certain to be on the National League All-Star squad for the July 12 game,
homered from both sides of the plate Thursday while serving as the Cardinals'
designated hitter, giving him 20 homers and 58 RBI for the season. Last year,
when Berkman still was recovering from spring training knee surgery, he had only
14 homers and 58 RBI overall while playing with the Astros and the
The Cardinals ended June
much as they had begun it. They swept the first three-game series they played in
the month, beating the Cubs. They swept their last three-game series at
holding on for a 9-6 win Thursday. In between those sweeps, they won just five
games the rest of the month.
But they still managed to
finish the month where they began it. They are in first place in the NL Central,
tied with Milwaukee.
Berkman had his fourth
multi-homer game of the season -- the home runs traveled 422 and 444 feet. He
began the month hitting .338 and finished it at .296. However, he insisted his
right wrist, injured when making a diving catch last month, was all
"That certainly hasn't
been the problem," Berkman said. "I would like to have had a few more hits, but
if I'm going to have very few, I'd like for them to be
Berkman did have nine
homers in the month.
The Cardinals turned four
double plays Thursday, three of them behind left-hander Jaime Garcia, who earned
his first win in four weeks and seventh overall despite allowing five runs and
10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Third basemen David Freese and Daniel Descalso each
started a double play, as did second baseman Skip Schumaker and shortstop Ryan Theriot.
Descalso made a brilliant
stop and then initiated a double play after replacing Freese in the eighth
inning. Manager Tony La Russa is trying not to overwork Freese after the latter
was sidelined by a broken left hand for eight weeks.
Freese, making his third
start after coming off the disabled list, had two more hits, giving him five for
"We were reeling there
for a little bit," Berkman said. "I don't think you can underrate the value of
getting Freese and (Nick) Punto back. As they soon as they came back, we had a
little extra spark."
RF Jon Jay, after
visiting the Babe Ruth museum in Baltimore and holding a Ruth bat, made like the
Bambino by slugging the first homer of his career against a left-handed pitcher.
Jay's three-run drive in the fourth inning gave the Cardinals an 8-0 lead over
the Orioles. He finished the game 3-for-5.
2B Skip Schumaker
extended his hitting streak to nine games (13-for-31, .419). He also was
involved in all four Cardinals double plays, pivoting three and starting
Rookie Tony Cruz,
normally a catcher, made his first appearance at first base and was on the
receiving end of four double plays besides contributing two hits. Cruz and
rookie 1B Mark Hamilton had four hits in the No. 8 spot in the
LHP Jaime Garcia gave up
two homers in a game for the first time since his first start in the majors two
years ago. "He had really good stuff," manager Tony La Russa said. "He was just
pressing every once in a while. But he got a win today, and that's a step in the
right direction." Garcia (7-3) had not won since June 3.
RHP Fernando Salas earned
his 13th save in 15 tries. But RH reliever Jason Motte helped stabilize matters
in the sixth after LHP Jaime Garcia was knocked out. Motte allowed just an
infield hit while fanning two. He was throwing in the high
RHP Brandon Dickson had
his contract purchased from Class AAA Memphis to replace released RHP Ryan
Franklin. Dickson has been a starter in the minors, where he was 4-7 with a 3.86
ERA over 100 1/3 innings, but he will be a long reliever for the
BY THE NUMBERS: 11-15 - The
Cardinals' record in June. They are 4-5 since 1B Albert Pujols went on the
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He had a cool
spell. Otherwise, you'd hit like you did in high school,
- Manager Tony La Russa,
discussing DH Lance Berkman's recent slump at bat—before Berkman hit two homers
RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild
right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13.
He is unlikely to return before mid-July.
1B Albert Pujols
(sprained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 20.
Pujols was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the radius bone in his
left forearm, and he will be out until late July or early
OF Allen Craig (broken
right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June
C Gerald Laird (broken
right index finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May
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. He was scheduled to play catch on flat
ground in late June.
Fri., July 1 at RAYS: Jake Westbrook (6-4, 5.32) vs. Wade Davis (7-5, 4.32) 6:10 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports
Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio