April 29, 2009

Big 5th gives Cards series over Braves, Ryan hurt

Ryan Franklin came in an out early for closing, in the eighth, when reliever Jason Motte ran into some control problems, and recorded four outs to help the Cardinals maintain their 5-3 score and turn it into final numbers.

Adam Wainwright started for the Cardinals, having a rough night, but making it through six innings on 110 pitches. He threw eight ground outs and eight fly outs, walking five Braves while striking out a couple. The Braves' three runs all belonged to Wainwright, but only two of them were earned. Wainwright permitted one of those runs on a wild pitch, Jeff Francouer scoring from third base.

By the end of the third inning, the Braves were up 3-1, the Cards playing catch-up with a four-run fifth inning. Joe Thurston, Brian Barden, Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Chris Duncan, and Rick Ankiel all singled throughout the inning, driving in a run at a time, until the Cardinals were up 5-3.

Except for that big Cardinals' fifth, Braves' starter Javier Vazquez went a full eight innings, Braves' manager Bobby Cox needing only to use reliever Rafael Soriano for one inning. Vazquez went two more full innings than Wainwright, yet threw only 98 pitches, 11 less than Wainwright.

Still, Wainwright battled on a tough night for him, giving his team a shot. Regardless of how difficult Wainwright found his duties, he still gave his squad six innings and the bullpen a three-inning task, something most decent bullpens can handle.

Dennys Reyes did some LOOGY duties in the seventh, getting two outs. Chris Perez finished off that inning.

Skipper Tony La Russa opted to have Motte start with a fresh eighth, but a couple walks put the Cards in a bind. TLR wasn't about to have a repeat of last night's 3-walk inning by McClellan, and called closer Franklin in an out early.

Franklin delivered with an economy of pitches, a dozen over his four outs, 11 of them for strikes.

Brendan Ryan got the shortstop duties, and did well until he was running out a grounder (that went foul) to first base in the fifth. Ryan pulled up, grabbing the back of his left leg. The word via TV media was that he had a hamstring problem. Brian Barden replaced him with a 2-2 count and became the second Cardinal to single in that big inning.

Ryan is expected to be out at least a couple of games.

Ryan was the only Cardinal with an extra basehit, a double.

Otherwise, Pujols led the Cards' batsmen, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Wainwright was the winning pitcher, now 3-0.

Reyes, Motte, and Perez all earned holds.

Franklin earned his seventh save.

Javier Vazquez suffered the loss, now 2-2.

The Cardinals travel to Washington to start a four-game series with the Nationals on Thursday night, 6:05 p.m. CT.

Probable starters:

  • STL--Mitchell Boggs RHP (1-0, 1.17)

  • WSH--Daniel Cabrera RHP (0-2, 4.42)

photo by Barbara Moore