Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/15/10

The Cardinals' new lineup began with a strong showing against Seattle Monday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The latest new-look Cardinals batting order trotted out by master lineup manipulator Tony La Russa on Monday had Matt Holliday hitting second in front of Albert Pujols (instead of fourth) and the pitcher, Adam Wainwright, batting eighth.

The power that people have been looking for, especially from Holliday, still wasn't there. But he and Pujols were on base eight times out of 10 as Pujols had three hits and two walks and Holliday had two hits and a walk.

All these chances nicely set up new cleanup man Ryan Ludwick, who responded with a three-run homer, a sacrifice fly and a double that was the key hit in a four-run inning.

But La Russa said, "The way everybody was competing and making things happen, you could have written that group any way you wanted to and we would have had some runs. There wasn't anybody who didn't stick their nose in and create a lot of tough at-bats."

A team that had a devil of a time delivering runners in scoring position was 3-for-9 in that department Monday.

Wainwright, making his 100th career start for the Cardinals, didn't need too much help and raised his record to 9-4 this year and 53-27 as a Cardinal. In his last 46 starts, Wainwright has lasted six or more innings 45 times, and he has 21 straight quality starts at home.

CARDINALS 9, MARINERS 3: The Cardinals are 4-0 against Seattle in interleague play in the two visits the Mariners have made to Busch Stadium. RHP Adam Wainwright surrendered a 422-foot homer to Ichiro Suzuki on the game's second pitch, and Seattle scored two runs in the first. But Wainwright gave up only an infield hit through the next six innings.

 

NOTES AND QUOTES

Monday's victory left the Cardinals one game off Cincinnati's pace in the National League Central race with 98 games to go. "Nobody in this clubhouse thinks we've even played half as good as we could—or will," said RHP Adam Wainwright. "It's just a matter of time."

1B Albert Pujols had a knot near his left ear after being hit in the helmet by a throw from Seattle 3B Jose Lopez as Pujols slid home with a run in the fifth inning. Pujols stayed in the game, reaching base all five times. Manager Tony La Russa said, "We kept asking him, 'Are you dizzy? Headache or anything?' He said, 'No, no, no.' He's a tough guy. He's proved that over and over again."

LF Matt Holliday had never hit second in a major league game with Colorado, Oakland or the Cardinals in nearly 3,900 plate appearances until he did Monday, getting two hits and a walk. Holliday had been batting only .200 with runners in scoring position, and manager Tony La Russa thought he had been pressing in the cleanup role.

RHP Jeff Suppan, whose last start for the Cardinals was in Game 4 of the 2006 World Series, will face Seattle on Tuesday night. Suppan, released by Milwaukee in the final year of a four-year contract, was signed to a contract for the rest of the season.

RHP Adam Ottavino was optioned to Class AAA Memphis to make room on the roster for RHP Jeff Suppan.

RHP Jason Motte, pitching brilliantly for the last month, allowed his first inherited runner out of 13 to score. It came on an infield out after Motte had inherited a second-and-third, no-out spot in the eighth.

By the Numbers:

0-Number of victories for the Cardinals in games started by top pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on a recent road trip.

Quote to Note:

"I'm a big believer that at the end of the year our numbers will be there and we'll be as a team right where we want to be."

-1B Albert Pujols on his and LF Matt Holliday's lack of productivity.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

Medical Watch:

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He tossed from a mound June 9 but did not throw on a downward plane. He will be re-examined June 14.