August 14, 2008

Wellemeyer goes into eighth as Ludwick drives home three

Todd Wellemeyer joined the current trend of Cardinals' pitchers going deeper into ball games tonight as the St. Louis Cardinals blanked the Florida Marlins 3-0 at Dolphin Stadium.

Wellemeyer gave up only three hits during 7.2 innings of work, throwing 112 pitches, about half and half on balls and strikes. He walked four and struck out three.

While Wellemeyer was grinding it out on the mound, Ryan Ludwick was collecting RBIs. He owned all three of those tonight, the first of which came on a stand-up double in the third inning that scored Cesar Izturis. Later, in the seventh inning, Ludwick blasted his 30th homer of the season, this one to left field and sending home Izturis for the second time, with himself trotting in for the third Cards' run of the game.

Three runs would prove to be two more than needed, an unusual scenario for the Cardinals, who normally have to score at least six or seven to come out on top. But the bullpen held up again tonight, manager Tony La Russa choosing three relievers to keep the Marlins scoreless for the last four outs of the game.

With two outs in the eighth, Russ Springer got the call, striking out Jorge Cantu with two Marlin's runners aboard.

La Russa went to left-handed specialist Ron Villone to start the ninth inning, to face left-handed clean-up hitter Mike Jacobs. Villone got Jacobs to pop out to Albert Pujols at first base for the first out.

Once more, La Russa went to the bullpen, this time for Ryan Franklin, who would fulfill the role of closer, whether or not he currently carries that title. (Since La Russa has refused to name anyone as the Official Closer, each reliever in that role has done well.) Franklin struck out Dan Uggla, then gave up a single to Wes Helms. After a wild pitch sent Helms scrambling to second base, Franklin ignored him even more, concentrating on batter John Baker, who grounded out to second baseman Aaron Miles to end the game.

The victory gave the Cardinals a series win over the Marlins, three games out of four. Cincinatti is the next stop, tomorrow night, when the Cardinals start a three-game set.

Chris Carpenter will miss his turn in the rotation tomorrow; Brad Thompson is slated to take his place in the starting role.
photo by Barbara Moore