August 14, 2008

Looper and unnamed closer Perez muddle Marlins

Seven solid innings from St. Louis Cardinals' starter Braden Looper and two rookie relievers managed to take the respectable output of their team's offense and turn it into a win versus the Florida Marlins last night.

In a 6-4 victory, Looper improved his record to 11-9, allowing five hits and two runs in 7.0 innings. Reliever Kyle McClellan, the rookie who doesn't seem like a rookie, did get knocked around a bit last night, giving up a couple runs. McClellan's appearance was uncharacterisitic of his usual performance, and he looked somewhat tired, as if his pitches didn't have the movement they usually do.

Reliever/sometimes closer/but never named as official closer/closer Chris Perez went the last two innings under what appeared to be a La Russa strategy that says, if it ain't broke, don't take him out of the darned game. This, even though Perez walked the first batter he faced. He pitched through the hindrance, still relying heavily on his mid-90s fast ball, which he threw at 97 mph five times in a row at one point.

The offense came through with probably just enough support for a Cards' win on a day when starter does okay and goes beyond five innings. Six runs was the tally, with Jason LaRue delivering what was probably the biggest impact swing of the game, a 2-RBI double to right-center in the seventh inning, a tie-breaker at the time, putting the Cards up 4-2.

Adam Kennedy probably couldn't wait to get back in a game after an atypical error on a ground ball a few games ago that cost his team a big inning. Last night, Kennedy went 2-for-2 and scored a run, but also contributed two sacrifice flies that accounted for two RBIs.

Other big offensive games were turned in by Skip Schumaker, who was 3-for-5, and Troy Glaus, who suddenly went perfect again with a 4-for-4 game.

Joe Mather, who by now is probably a hero in both St. Louis and Memphis, made a spectacular leaping grab to steal away a Marlins' home run late in the game.

The Cardinals have taken two out of three games from Florida so far as they attempt to win the four-game series tonight at Dophin Stadium.

photo by Barbara Moore