Tagged: Pittsburgh Pirates

Miles, Ludwick, Glaus go deep in Cards win

2581556817_9808205c56_m-sanchez-photo by David Watson.jpgHome runs contributed by Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Miles, and Troy Glaus accounted for five of the Cardinals’ 11 runs in a first half finale versus the Pittsburgh Pirates today.
The bullpen was able to cool the recently hot Bucs’ bats at the same time, the Cardinals avoiding a repeat of last night’s extra inning loss after a huge Pirates’ comeback. Russ Springer came on for Joel Pineiro in the sixth when the Pirates’ Chris Gomez doubled home Sean Burnett and Nate McClouth to take the lead at 6-5. After Pineiro walked the next hitter, manager Tony La Russ called on Springer, who needed only one pitch to get Jason Bay to pop out and squash the rally.
The Cards had plenty of offense again, Aaron Miles driving a three-run homer into the right field seats in the fourth inning, his blast giving the Cards a 4-1 lead. In the seventh, with the Cards down one run, Glaus doubled home Ludwick to tie the game at six-all. Chris Duncan had an RBI single in the seventh inning, and a few batters later, Aaron Miles hit a two-RBI triple, giving him five RBIs on the day. The Cards had a 9-6 lead.
With bad memories form last night’s game undoubtedly lingering, Ryan Ludwick cracked a home run to left field, tacking on what La Russa could only hope was in insurance run.
Troy Glaus dittoed in the ninth, launching one into the Cardinals bullpen in dead center field, extending the lead to 11-6.
With the offense maintaining good production and Pineiro keeping them close for almost six full innings, the nerves had begun to rattle when La Russa started plucking relievers from the bullpen and planting them on the mound.
Springer held his own, providing a specialist’s display with his one-pitch de-jamming of Pineiro’s rough sixth inning.
Kyle McClellan came on to start the seventh, and worked through the eighth, giving up only one hit. The rookie had a tough outing last night, but held it together well today, paving the way for closer Ryan Franklin.
Franklin worked a scoreless ninth, allowing only Ryan Doumit to get on base with a single.
Rick Ankiel, who had slightly injured his leg while batting last night, made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh, flying out to right field.
The 11-6 win takes the Cardinals into the All-Star break with a 53-43 record. The next game will take place on July 17, Thursday, when the Cards start a home stand versus the San Diego Padres.
photo by David Watson   

NoteCARDS v Pirates 7/13/08

After 9 innings (Final)

Cardinals 11
Pirates 6

Tyler Yates now pitching for Pirates; (T.J. Beam); (Franquelis Osoria); (Sean Burnett); (starter Ian Snell)
Ryan Franklin now pitching for Cardinals; (Kyle McClellan); (Russ Springer); (starter Joel Pineiro)

Bottom of 9th:
[Ryan Franklin relieves Kyle McClellan]
Chris Gomez hits a weak fly to shortstop Cesar Izturis for the first out.
Ryan Doumit lines a basehit up the middle, just beyond the reach of Cesar Izturis.
Jason Bay strikes out swinging for the second out.
Xavier Nady hits a long fly ball to left, left fielder Ryan Ludwick making the catch at the 383-foot marker for the last out of the game.

Top of 9th:
[Tyler Yates relieves T. J. Beam]
Troy Glaus hit a towering blast into the Cardinals bullpen in center field, the ball carrying 30 feet beyond the 410-foot marker and over the bullpen bench.
Chris Duncan hit one through the box into center field for a basehit.
[Joe Mather pinch-runs for Chris Duncan.]
Yadier Molina hit a line drive up the middle, but second baseman Chris Gomez raced over and stabbed it for the first out.
Aaron Miles laced a line drive into right field for a basehit, Duncan advancing to second base.
Adam Kennedy pinch-hits for Kyle McClellan, check-swinging a hit just beyond the reach of shortstop Jack Wilson, Joe Mather having to hustle to make it to third base to avoid getting forced out.
Cesar Izturis stikes out, not able to hold a check swing on the third strike for the second out.
Skip Schumaker hits a line shot right at center fielder Nate McClouth for the third out.

Bottom of 8th:
Luis Rivas pinch-hits for T. J. Beam, flying out to Ryan Ludwick in left field for the first out.
Jack Wilson hit long fly ball into the right-center field gap, center fielder Skip Schumaker making a diving catch for the second out.
All-Star Nate McClouth grounds out to second baseman Aaron Miles to end the inning.

Top of 8th:
Cesar Izturis hit a sinking line drive into center field, Nate McClouth coming on to make the play.
Skip Schumaker hits a hard ground to ball to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who makes the putout unassisted for the second out.
All-Star Ryan Ludwick drove a long fly ball for a home run to dead center field, 20 feet beyond the 399-foot marker, tacking another run to extend the Cards lead to 10-6.
All-Star Albert Pujols ground out to third baseman Jose Bautista to end the inning.

Bottom of 7th:
[Kyle McClellan relieves Russ Springer.]
Xavier Nady singles into right field.
Doug Mientkiewicz pops out to shortstop Cesar Izturis for the first out.
Jose Bautista hits a line shot that first baseman Albert Pujols snags, stepping on first base to double off Nady for an unassisted double play.

Top of 7th:
[Franquelis Osoria relieves Sean Burnett]
All-Star Ryan Ludwick singles into center field.
All-Star Albert Pujols hit in leg by the pitch, advancing Ludwick to second base.
Troy Glaus rips a line drive down the left field line, doubling home Lucwick with the tying run and third base coach Jose Oquendo holding up Pujols at third base.
Chris Duncan hits through the hole on the right side, singling Pujols home with the lead run, Glaus holding up a second base.
[Osoria gets visit from Pirates’ pitching coach.]
Yadier Molina squibs one in front of the pitcher, the hit working like a sac-bunt, advancing Glaus to third base and Pujols to second base.
Aaron Miles drove a long fly ball to the wall in right-center field, clearing the bases with a triple.
[T. J. Beam relieves Franquelis Osoria]
Rick Ankiel pinch-hits for Russ Springer, flies out to right fielder Xavier Nady, who throws to home plate, catcher Ryan Doumit tagging out Aaron Miles for the third out.

Bottom of 6th:
Jose Bautista lines out to second baseman Aaron Miles for the first out.
Sean Burnett doubles over the head of left fielder, Ryan Ludwick. (Burnett’s first ML hit.)
Jack Wilson grounds out to shortstop Cesar Izturis, Burnett advancing to third base.
All-Star Nate McClouth walks.
McClouth advances to second base on a botched run-down play.
Chris Gomez cracks a long fly ball over the head of a diving Ryan Ludwick in left field, the ball rolling to the wall; Burnett scoring the tying run easily, and McClouth scoring from second base with the lead run, the Pirates pulling ahead 6-5 on the two-out hit.
Ryan Doumit walked, giving the Pirates men on first and second.
[Russ Springer relieves Joel Pineiro.]
Jason Bay hits a pop-fly to short center field, second baseman Aaron Miles making the play for the third out.

Top of 6th:
Yadier Molina singles to center field.
Aaron Miles hits ground ball to second baseman Chris Gomez, Gomez making an error trying to field the ball for doubleplay; Molina advances to third base on the play.
Joel Pineiro strikes out for the first out of the inning.
Cesar Izturis grounds to third baseman, J. Bautista, who throws to second baseman Gomez at
second, but the relay to Meintkiewicz at first base was too late, Molina scoring to put the Cardinals in the lead, 5-4.
Cesar Izturis steals second base (his eighth stolen base in 12 attempts).
Skip Schumaker grounds out for the final out of the inning.

Bottom of 5th:
Freddy Sanchez pinch-hit for Ian Snell, singling to left field.
Jack Wilson singles to right field, Sanchez advancing to second base.
All-Star Nate McClouth flies out to Skip Schumaker in center field for the first out.
Chris Gomez flies out to deep Skip Schumaker in deep center field. Sanchez tags up at second, advancing to third base on the fly ball; two outs.
Ryan Doumit pulls a double down the right field line, Sanchez scoring the second Pirates’ run, Wilson holding up at third base.
Jason Bay hits a single through the hole on the left side, Wilson and Doumit scoring to tie the game at 4-apiece.
Xavier Nady hits a line drive up the middle, Bay advancing to second base.
Doug Mientkiewicz grounds out to end the inning.

Top of 5th:
Skip Schumaker singles to center.
Ryan Ludwick pops out to second baseman Chris Gomez.
Albert Pujols pops out to catcher Ryan Doumit.
Troy Glaus walked, Schumaker advancing to second base.
Chris Duncan grounds out to second baseman Chris Gomez to end the inning.

Bottom of 4th:
Pirates down in order: Nady, Mientkiewicz, J. Bautista.

Top of 4th:
Troy Glaus doubles with two outs.
Chris Duncan doubles down right field line, Glaus scoring to tie the game at 1-1.
Yadier Molina walks on a wild pitch, Duncan advancing to third base.
Aaron Miles launches a three-run homer into the right field seats, Cards now up 4-1
Joel Pineiro walks, Snell gets visit from pitching coach.
Cesar Izturis lofts a lazy fly to Jason Bay in left field to end the inning.

Bottom of 1st:
Xavier Nady singles home Chris Gomez in first inning to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

Redbird Randoms 7/13/08 Pineiro to start, lots of offense, lots of earned runs

On-deck: The Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in
530942786_a98f218d85_m-piratemascot-photo by David Watson.jpgPittsburgh, Ohio today at 12:35 p.m. CDT.

Probables: STL-Joel Pineiro RHP (3-4, 4.17) vs. PIT-Ian Snell RHP (3-7, 5.84).

After the break: The Cardinals will finish up the first half of the season against the Pirates today, then enjoy the All-Star break. Their next game isn’t until July 17, when they will take on the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium at 7:15 p.m. CDT.

Bird’s Perch: With a Brewers loss yesterday to the Reds and a Cubs win in extra innings versus the Giants, plus, a Cardinals loss in extra innings to the Pirates, the Cardinals hold onto second place in the NL Central, but fall another game behind the Cubs at 5.5. The Brewers continue to threaten to overtake the Cardinals in third place, 6.5 games behind the Cubs and only one full game behind the Cardinals.

Ankiel scare: While at bat yesterday, Ankiel sent down on a swing, possibly turning an ankle or twisting his knee. He left the game. At the time of this post, the only word was that Ankiel should be able to participate in today’s game.

Tons of offense, no win: In the Cardinals loss to the Pirates yesterday, offense was not the issue. Some of the better performances were turned in by:

Troy Glaus: 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 1 HR

Albert Pujols: 3-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI, double

Yadier Molina: 4-for-6, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 double

Ryan Ludwick: 3-for-5, 4 RBIs, 2 runs, triple, double

Rick Ankiel: 2-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 2 doubles

Aaron Miles: 2-for-5, 3 runs, 1 double

Adam Kennedy: 1-for-3, 1 RBI

Joe Mather: 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 double

Using up the arms: The Cardinals used seven pitchers in yesterday’s slugfest, five of whom were scored upon, all the runs earned.

Scored upon: Wellemeyer (4), Franklin (2), Isringhausen (3), McClellan (2), Perez (1)

Not scored upon: Springer, Villone

photo by David Watson

NoteCARDS v Pirates (compilation) Pirates 12, Cardinals 11

NoteCARDSs reports frequently, sometimes by the half-inning, on the 4thebirds main site on selected Cardinals games.
Top of 1st: Yoslan Herrera made his major league debut. Only Ryan Ludwick reached on a four-pitch walk. The rookie from the Pirates’ Double-A affiliate Altoona struck out both Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel, both on change-ups, which Herrera is known for. Herrera showed a low-90s fastball, the good change, and a curve you can see coming almost before he makes a motion toward the plate.

Bottom of 1st:
Todd Wellemeyer started for the Cards, looking to improve his performance from his recent outings. He didn’t get off to a good start, walking leadoff man Nate McClouth. Ankiel helped by making a nice catch on a Luis Rivas fly ball, going back to the wall from his normal, shallow positioning in center field. Things looked to be back under control for Wellemeyer after a Ryan Doumit fly out to Chris Duncan in right field, but Jason Bay hit a fast ball up and on the outside of the plate, taking the pitch just over the right-center field wall. The Pirates went up 2-0 on the two-run blast. Xaiver Nady flew out to Ankiel in center to end the inning.
Top of 2nd: The Cards were licking their chops when Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, and Yadier Molina hit back to back to back singles, loading the bases with nobody out. Yoslan Herrera, however, got Wellemeyer to pop out, then grabbed an Adam Kennedy grounder back to him, throwing to home plate to force out lead runner Glaus, whereupon catcher Ryan Doumit pivoted and fired to first to force out Kennedy to end the inning.

Bottom of 2nd:
Wellemeyer settled down, cruising through Adam LaRoche, Doug Meintkiwicz, and Herrera.

Top of 3rd:
Leadoff man Aaron Miles singled to start the inning, followed by a Ryan Ludwick triple to left-center field, Miles scoring. Albert Pujols then hit a towering fly ball to left, Jason Bay reaching up at the wall to take away a homer. The fly turned into a long sacrifice fly, Ludwick scoring the tying run, 2-2. Rick Ankiel blasted a long ball to center, off the wall. Ankiel stopped at second base. Herrera seemed rattled after throwing another four-pitch walk, this time to Troy Glaus. Herrera pulled out that good change-up on a full-count to Chris Duncan, striking him out swinging. Yadier Molina picked up the club, however, singling through the hole on the left side, Ankiel scoring from second base. With Glaus on second and Molina on first, Wellemeyer got a Herrera curve ball with two strikes, offering a weak swing and striking out. The Cardinals secured the lead, however, at 3-2.

Bottom of 3rd:
Jack Wilson popped out to Miles at shortstop to start the inning. Wellemeyer faced All-Star Nate McClouth with one out. McClouth popped out to Glaus in foul territory on the third base side, Glaus making a nice running grab. Everyone had a scare when Luis Rivas got hit by a pitch, possibly misreading a curve that didn’t break. Rivas was okay and stayed in the game, taking first base. Doumit grounded out to Adam Kennedy at second base to end the inning.
Top of 4th: Kennedy laced a line drive back at Herrera, who made the catch, but got stung pretty good on his glove hand. For some reason, he needed to throw two warm-up pitches. He may been rattled a bit, because he walked Miles. Ludwick took advantage of the rookie next, lifting a fly just out of left fielder Jason Bay’s reach, a two run homer to add to the Cards’ lead, making it 5-2. Pujols added to the rookie’s troubles, hitting a double, sliding safely into second base on a close tag. Mientkiewicz got ejected from the game for arguing the call, which, upon further (fan) review, showed Rivas tagging Pujol on the face before Pujols touched second base with his left hand. Ankiel popped out to Wilson at short for the second out. Herrera committed his fourth walk, giving a free pass to Glaus, putting two Cards on base. Duncan, however, flew out to Bay in left, ending the inning with two Cardinals left of base.
Bottom of 4th: Wellemeyer was breezing through the inning; Bay flying out to Ankiel in center, and Nady grounding out to Kennedy at second. LaRoche ruined Wellemeyer’s roll, though, blasting one well up in the right-center field seats to cut the lead to 5-3. Jose Bautista, who replaced Mientkiewicz at third base, grounded out to Glaus at third base to end the inning.

Top of 5th: Yadier Molina lead off the inning with a basehit. Wellemeyer advancing him to second base with a sac-bunt. Kennedy then got a basehit through the middle, third base coach Jose Oquendo sending Molina to the plate. Molina seemed surprised that he was sent, but slid in safely with no play.
Franquelis Osorio came on in relief for Herrera.
Miles got first crack at him, hitting a ground that Osorio fielded himself on the first base side, then throwing out Kennedy at second base with no choice, as no one was covering first base.
With two outs and Miles at first base on a fielder’s choice, Ludwick, who had homered in his last at bat, ground out to Wilson at short.
Bottom of 5th: Freddy Sanchez pinch-hit for Osoria, but struck out swinging. Wilson flew out to Ankiel in center and McClouth grounded to Kennedy at second base.

Top of 6th: T.J. Beam came on in relief for the Pirates. Pujols jumped on him, hitting a double about 405 feet off the center field wall, then a ricochet to another angle of the wall in an area called the North End Notch. Ankiel then doubled into the left field corner, changing places with Pujols at second base while Pujols scored. Glaus singled home Ankiel. Duncan then hit a shallow fly ball into right-center, McClouth making a spectacular sliding catch, then firing to first baseman LaRoche to double off Glaus. The Cardinals weren’t done hitting off Beam, though, Molina getting the third double of the inning. Wellemeyer flew out to right fielder Xavier Nady, however, to end the rally.

Bottom of 6th: Wellemeyer cruised through the sixth; Rivas lining out to Ankiel in center field, Doumit flying out to right-center, Duncan speeding over to make the play, and Bay striking out.
Top of 7th: The Cardinals tallied another run, this time off of the next Pirates’ reliever, Sean Burnett. Ludwick picked up another RBI, singling home Miles. In the inning, Rick Ankiel was injured on a swing, having to leave the game.
Bottom of 7th: The Pirates’ LaRoche hit a ground rule double, then scored on a Bautista single. Cards’ manager Tony La Russa took out Wellemeyer, calling on Russ Springer to face pinch-hitter Chris Gomez. Springer got Gomez looking. Wilson then flew out to Duncan in right field to end the inning.
Top of 8th: Tyler Yates relieved Burnett. Troy Glaus reached on a slow roller that third baseman Bautista couldn’t get handle on. Duncan followed up with a single to right. Molina then hit into a double play, but Glaus advanced to third base. Joe Mather pinch-hit for Springer, doubling into the left field corner, Glaus scoring the 10th Cardinal run. Cesar Izturis made the last out, lining out to LaRoche at first base.
Bottom of 8th: Ryan Franklin came on in relief of Springer. McClouth struck out swinging to start the inning. Rivas singled to left field. Doumit flew out to Derek Schumaker, who took over for Ankiel in center field, for the second out. Bay then blasted his second two-run homer of the night, far past the center field fence, making it 10-6. When Nady hit a sharp single through the hole on the right side, La Russa yanked Franklin, bringing on lefthander, Ron Villone to face LaRoche. Villone struck out LaRoche, swinging, on a nasty curve ball, ending the Pirates’ threat.
Top of 9th: Damaso Marte relieved Yates. Miles grounded out to second for the first out. Ludwick lined out to Bay in left field. With two outs, Albert Pujols hit another ball hard, singling to center field. Schumaker grounded to LaRoche, who, moving to his right, threw to second base to force out Pujols and end the inning.
Bottom of 9th: Jason Isringhausen came on in the closer role for the first time since early in the season. Isringhausen struck out Jose Bautista looking with a 91-MPH fastball. Jason Michaels pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot, working a full count and then walking. Wilson hit a slow-roller to Glaus, beating out the throw on play that appeared to be an out. Instead of one base runner and two outs, the Pirates then had much better odds of a comeback, now with two runners on and only one out.
And just like clockwork, All-Star Nate McClouth jacked one out to right-center, a three-run homer that brought the Bucs within one run at 10-9.
After Isringhausen threw two straight balls that didn’t come close to the strike zone of Luis Rivas, La Russa yanked Isringhausen for Kyle McClellan. Rivas answered with a sharp single to left field, then advanced to third base on a Ryan Doumit basehit to right-center.
With the tying run on third base and the winning run on first, Jason Bay strode to the plate, having hit two home runs in the game. Bay hit a double play grounder to Izturis at short, but after getting the force at second base, Aaron Miles couldn’t get the ball out of his glove for the relay to first. Rivas scored easily from third, tying the game at 10-apiece. Nady popped out to Izturis to send the game into extra innings.
Top of 10th: Denny Bautista came on in relief for the Pirates in the tenth inning. Troy Glaus jumped on him immediately, launching a high fast ball into the upper reaches of the left field seats, putting the Cards up 11-10. McClellan struck out, an obvious sign since he wasn’t pinched, that the Cards needed at least another inning of relief out of him. Moline grounded out for the second out. Joe Mather struck out to end the inning.
Bottom of 10th: Raul Chaves singled to left, putting the tying run on first base. La Russa pulled McClellan on the spot, opting for the hard-throwing Chris Perez. Bautista popped out to Izturis for the first out. But Jason Michaels, who admittedly was only trying to make contact and keep the inning going, blasted one into the left field seats, a walk-off home run, the Pirates accomplishing a huge comeback victory in extra innings, 12-11.

At the end of 10 innings: (Final)
Pirates 12

Cardinals 11
This post is now updated with some delay from the real time game. (beta)

Dumatrait scratched, Cards to face rookie Herrera

2581555943_e7ef8dcc0d_m-dumatrait-photo by David Watson.jpgThe Cards will not face Pirates’ lefthander Phil Dumatrait tonight. The Pirates were forced to scratch Dumatriat due to pain in his left shoulder and place him on the 15-day DL.

Instead of the lefty starter, the Cards will now face a call-up from the Pirates’ Double-A Altoona affiliate, Yoslan Herrera RHP (0-0, -.–). Herrera amassed a 3-5 record with Altoona out of 10 starts. He carried a 3.43 ERA.

Cards’ manager Tony La Russa may have to do some lineup juggling, now that the opposing starter has changed from left to righty, but considering how many different lineups he has submitted this season, he shouldn’t be at a loss for variations.

The Cards’ starter remains the same at this point, Todd Wellemeyer RHP (7-4, 3.94).

photo by David Watson

Redbird Randoms 7/12/08 Wellemeyer, Ankiel

On deck: The Cards will take on the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh in the second game of a three-game series tonight at 6:05 p.m. CDT.

bp-rick horten at batting practice.jpgProbables:
STL-Todd Wellemeyer RHP (7-4, 3.94) vs. PIT-Phil Dumatrait LHP (3-4, 5.26)

Redbird’s Perch: The Cards moved up into the second place slot in the NL Central, 4.5 games behind the first place Cubs, who beat the Giants yesterday, 3-1. The Brewers lost to the Reds, 6-5, slipping into third place, 5.0 games behind the Cubs and only a 1/2 game behind the Cards.

Whatcha done for me lately? Over the last 30 days, these are the Cardinals who are leading in:

ABs: Rick Ankiel — 108

Runs: Rick Ankiel — 20

Hits: Rick Ankiel — 31

Doubles: Adam Kennedy — 8

Triples: Rick Ankiel, Skip Schumaker, Cesar Izturis, Jason LaRue — 1-each

Home Runs: Rick Ankiel — 10

RBIs: Rick Ankiel — 20

BBs: Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan — 11

Ks: Rick Ankiel — 24

On-Base Percentage: Albert Pujols — .446

Slugging Percentage: Rick Ankiel — .630

Batting Average: Albert Pujos — .364

Lohse wins 11th, Garcia makes ML debut, combo shutout of Bucs

2521332524_5592ae4b64-lohsesequence-photo by Iscan.jpgKyle Lohse, who some believe should have been named to the National League All-Star team, continued to roll through the innings, painting the corners staying out of any significant jams.

Pitching seven complete, Lohse scattered six hits and walked only one Buc batter while striking out three. His record is now 11-2.

Lohse had plenty of offense, something that never materialized in the last three games in Philadelphia.

The bulk of the Redbirds’ run came in the third. With two outs, Albert Pujols and Troy Glaus had back to back singles, followed by a Yadier Molina double that brought them both home. Molina took an extra base, scampering to third when the Pirates attempted to throw out Glaus at home. Rick Ankiel then got extended on a Zack Duke mistake pitch up, driving into the left-center field seats for a two run dinger, putting the Cards up 4-0.

Recently elected (by the players) All-Star Ryan Ludwick added to the Cards’ lead in the fourth with a solo blast to left field.

Lohse kept the Pirates off balance through all of but one of his innings on the hill, running into trouble in the fifth when Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, and Jose Bautista hit back to back to back singles, loading the bases with one out. To get out of the jam, Lohse had to pick on Bucs’ pitcher Duke, striking him out before Jack Wilson gave his heart a start with a line drive that found a perfectly positioned Cesar Izturis at shortstop.

Ankiel added a third RBI when he singled home Pujols in the seventh.

Up 6-0 after seven complete innings, manager Tony La Russa brought in recent call-up Jaime Garcia out of the bullpen. Garcia, a lefthander, was activated when Mark Mulder went on the DL. Before getting the call to join the Cardinals on this road trip, Garcia was about to join the World Team for participation the Futures Game, but once he hit the hill, he was no longer eligible to play on the prospect-filled Futures roster.

Garcia’s first hitter, Ryan Doumit, singled. But Garcia then recorded his first strikeout, victimizing Jason Bay. The rookie hurler broke Xavier Nady’s bat in two, then gloved his low-level popup. Adam LaRoche flew out to Ryan Ludwick in right, and Garcia showed well in his first major league inning.

Things weren’t so easy for Garcia in the Pirates’ ninth. The 22-year-old from Mexico found out how nerve-racking an inning can get, and in a hurry, when he threw eight straight balls, walking Jose Bautista, and then letting have second base on a wild pitch. Pitching coach Dave Duncan then got to witness the rookie work through the inning after self-imposing a potential jam. Garcia buckled down, striking out pinch-hitter Chris Gomez. Jack Wilson hit a line drive, but close enough for Skip Schumaker to snag in center field. All-Star Nate McClouth then popped out behind home plate to Yadier Molina to end the game.

Garcia pitched two complete innings, contributing to a the Cardinals win and strengthening the bullpen with a mixed performance of command, what appeared to be a loss of concentration, then a re-focusing on the demands of the inning batter by batter.

The Cardinals play the Pirates twice more before the All-Star break.

There is an outside chance that Lohse could still get a chance to participate, in the case where some of the chosen pitchers are pitching in the next couple of days, and wouldn’t have enough rest to pitch again a couple or three days later at Yankee Stadium in the Midsummer Classic.

photo by Iscan