Cardinals took care of business by winning seven of nine games in a stretch
against National League bottom-feeders Houston and Chicago to give themselves a
fairly comfortable lead in the race for the second wild-card spot in the
And, although they lost the last of
those nine games when they fell to right-hander Bud Norris and the Astros 2-0 on
Wednesday, they received an even stronger bounce-back start from right-hander
Chris Carpenter than he had made in his season debut Friday.
Carpenter gave up two runs in five
innings in Chicago in his first appearance after having
had surgery on July 19 to alleviate a nerve problem. On Wednesday, throwing a
good changeup and a little better curveball, he held the Astros to four hits and
two runs over six innings. Carpenter took the loss, but it was all good as far
as manager Mike Matheny was concerned.
"He threw the ball much better
tonight," said Matheny. "I thought he had better stuff. The ball was jumping out
of his hand and he was locating well.
"But we just couldn't get anything
going against Norris. We have trouble with a guy like him for some
Norris is 8-5 in his career against
the Cardinals and 19-32 against everybody else. The Cardinals had two runners on
base in only one inning, the eighth, and those got on via a hit batter and an
error. They had just two men in scoring position the entire game.
LF Matt Holliday, perhaps
still bothered by a sore lower back, has hit .220 over his last 10 games and was
hitless in four at-bats on Wednesday. He and RF Carlos Beltran both have been
scuffling lately, and manager Mike Matheny said, "There's no doubt that we need
the middle of the lineup to produce. I believe they will. We just need to get
them jump-started. When everybody's on, we have one of the best offenses in all
of baseball. I don't think anybody would deny that."
RF Carlos Beltran, who
had been 3-for-19, including his 30th homer of the season, in the first five
games of the Cardinals' six-game trip to Chicago and Houston, sat out the start
of Wednesday night's series finale with the Astros. Rookie Adron Chambers
replaced Beltran, who hit into a forceout as a pinch hitter in the eighth
1B Lance Berkman, still
out after a second surgery to his right knee, took batting practice indoors at
Maid Park on Wednesday. "Nothing too extreme,"
said Berkman. "But I feel like I had a pretty good session." Addressing the
possibility, an outside one, that he could return in the next week, Berkman, who
has been limited to 80 at-bats this season, said, "It's too early to make a
LHP Marc Rzepczynski,
nearly a forgotten man in the bullpen lately, worked a scoreless seventh inning
on Wednesday. Rzepczynski, who has had command issues, did not appear in the
first five games of the trip and has seen rookie LHP Sam Freemen employed ahead
3B David Freese, who
missed the three-game Houston series because of a
sprained right ankle, is shooting for a return sometime this weekend in a
three-game series at home against Washington.
2B Skip Schumaker sat out
again in the midst of an 8-for-46 September. "Skip is a huge part of this club.
We need to get him right," manager Mike Matheny said.
38-43 - Cardinals' final
record on the road this year. They were 45-36 last year.
Quote to Note:
"We're playing a one-game
series every night."
- Manager Mike Matheny,
whose team has six games remaining to wrap up a wild-card berth.
RHP Jake Westbrook
(strained right oblique) was injured Sept. 8, and he probably is out for the
rest of the regular season. He encountered discomfort in a bullpen session Sept.
22 in Chicago
and had to stop throwing.
LF Matt Holliday (back)
came out of the Sept. 23 game in the ninth inning, but was back in the lineup
the next day.
C Yadier Molina (back
spasms) did not play Sept. 23 but was back in the lineup the next
1B Lance Berkman (sore
right knee) underwent additional surgery Sept. 14 and was thought to be out for
the season, but he said he still wants to try to play.
SS Rafael Furcal (torn
ligament in right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 31 and is
out for the season. He might need Tommy John surgery, but he got a platelet-rich
plasma injection on Sept. 4 in the hopes of avoiding having to go under the
knife, but as of Sept. 19 he still hadn't been able to do any baseball
RHP Kyle McClellan (torn
labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a
strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He
threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt
shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July
Link to boxscore: Houston 2, St. Louis 0