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Led by rookie Rutledge, Rockies thump Cards 8-2

2012-08-02T16:09:00Z 2012-08-23T20:05:22Z Led by rookie Rutledge, Rockies thump Cards 8-2BY DERRICK GOOLD stltoday.com
August 02, 2012 4:09 pm  • 

DENVER • What figured to be a good chance for the Cardinals' statistically brawny offense to showcase itself instead turned into a reinforcement of things that keep the Cardinals trailing in the division.

This road trip was a series of missed opportunities.

Rockies rookie Josh Rutledge hit his third home run of the series and his fourth in as many days to muscle Colorado to an 8-2 victory Thursday. The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium to host Milwaukee tonight having mostly squandered a six-game road trip to Chicago and Colorado, two National League stops where the hosts were a combined 45 games below .500 entering play Thursday. The Cardinals went 3-3 on the trip, won only the series in Colorado, and led in two of the three games they lost.

In addition, first baseman Lance Berkman experienced weakness in his surgically repaired knee Thursday, manager Mike Matheny said. Berkman will have it checked today in St. Louis.

The Cardinals grabbed a 2-1 lead for starter Lance Lynn in the sixth inning but failures in other innings to grab runs when possible proved just as detrimental as the Cardinals ongoing trouble with the seventh inning.

That was, once again, where the game tilted.

A night after new addition Edward Mujica made swift work of the seventh inning with a one-run lead, Fernando Salas entered to handle the seventh in a tie game. The Rockies thumped him for three runs. Tyler Colvin broke the tie with his fifth hit of the series against the Cardinals — a double that scored D. J. LeMahieu. Rutledge followed with his third homer of the series, a two-run shot that gave him six RBIs in the three games. Rutledge is the first Rockies rookie to homer in four consecutive games.

Holding a 5-2 lead, the Rockies than did what Coors requires: add on. Pinch-hitter Wilin Rosario drilled Brian Fuentes for a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to extend their lead.

Tacking on had been the recipe used by the Cardinals as they flexed what Matt Holliday called a 'strength" of the most productive lineup in the National League. Led by Holliday's three homers and nine RBIs in the first two games, the Cardinals were the first NL team to 500 runs this season because of this series against the Rockies. The Cardinals pounded them for 20 runs and 27 hits in the first two games. They entered Thursday's game as the only team with a run differential better than plus-100.

The Cardinals had scored 102 more runs than their opponents.

The Rockies had scored 101 fewer than theirs.

The Cardinals' inability to produce at times when a productive out might push home a run Thursday failed to back Lynn's six strong innings and allowed the Rockies to keep pace before lifting away with the game late. The loss left the Cardinals eight games behind the first-place Reds, who won earlier in the day.

A curious thing happened thing after two consecutive nights of the offensive tug-o-wars that have become common again at Coors Field and came later Thursday.

A pitching duel developed.

The Rockies promoted righty Alex White from Class AAA for his first start in the majors since June 24. White, the 15th overall selection in the 2009 draft, had allowed one run in his previous 15 innings for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate. He was the first starter in the series to keep the Cardinals scoreless in the first inning, and kept putting up zeroes until the sixth inning. He did so by limiting the Coors effect: The Cardinals put very few balls in the air against White. Twelve of the righty's first 15 outs came on the ground. After a leadoff double in the third inning by Tony Cruz, White got groundball outs from the next nine batters.

Cruz's double was the kind of missed opportunity that has bothered the Cardinals as they've tried to reconcile one of the game's best lineups with the fits and starts of their production.

Playing in place of Yadier Molina, who will have an x-ray taken of his sprained right thumb today in St. Louis, Cruz opened the third inning with a line-drive to the left-center gap. He reached third when Lynn dropped a textbook bunt down the third-base line.

And that's where he stopped.

The Cardinals couldn't muster a sacrifice fly or a groundball to the right side to bring him home. Schumaker grounded out to the shortstop to keep Cruz frozen and cause the second out. Jon Jay attempted a bunt for a base hit but was thrown out by catcher Ramon Hernandez.

Seeking his 14th win of the season, Lynn nearly matched White inning for inning. Though he took the scenic route to keep the Rockies scoreless through three innings. Lynn had to pitch around a leadoff double in the first inning. The first two batters of the second inning reached base. Neither time did the Rockies crack Lynn. That came in the fourth inning when back-to-back doubles by Carlos Gonzalez and Jordan Pacheco produced the game's first run and a 1-0 lead for the Rockies.

The Cardinals' defense and Colorado's baserunning did their parts to help Lynn through what could have been trickier innings.

Jay had a sliding catch in shallow center that ended the fifth inning before it unspooled on Lynn. With Molina on the bench, the Rockies got a little spry on the bases and twice attempted to steal against Lynn and backup catcher Cruz. They were unsuccessful both times. Cruz completed a strikeout-throw-out double play in the fourth inning, and in the sixth inning he erased Gonzalez for the second out of the inning when he tried to take second.


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DENVER • What figured to be a good chance for the Cardinals’ statistically brawny offense to showcase itself instead turned into a reinforcement of things that keep the Cardinals trailing in the division.

This road trip was a series of missed opportunities.

Rockies rookie Josh Rutledge hit his third home run of the series and his fourth in as many days to muscle Colorado to a 8-2 victory Thursday. The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium to host Milwaukee tonight having mostly squandered a six-game road trip to Chicago and Colorado, two National League stops where the hosts were a combined 45 games below .500 entering play Thursday. The Cardinals went 3-3 on the trip, won only the series in Colorado, and led in two of the three games they lost.

The Cardinals grabbed a 2-1 lead for starter Lance Lynn in the sixth inning but failures in other innings to grab runs when possible proved just as detrimental as the Cardinals ongoing trouble with the seventh inning.

That was, once again, where the game tilted.

A night after new addition Edward Mujica made swift work of the seventh inning with a one-run lead, Fernando Salas entered to handle the seventh in a tie game. The Rockies thumped him for three runs. Tyler Colvin broke the tie with his fifth hit of the series against the Cardinals $$ a double that scored D. J. LeMahieu. Rutledge followed with his third homer of the series, a two-run shot that gave him six RBIs in the three games. Rutledge is the first Rockies rookie to homer in four consecutive games.

Holding a 5-2 lead, the Rockies than did what Coors requires: add on. Pinch-hitter Wilin Rosario drilled Mujica for a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to extend their lead. The homer was the first allowed by Mujica as a Cardinal but the seventh he’s allowed in 41 innings this season.

Tacking on had been the recipe used by the Cardinals as they flexed what Matt Holliday called a “strength” of the most productive lineup in the National League. Led by Holliday’s three homers and nine RBIs in the first two games, the Cardinals were the first NL team to 500 runs this season because of this series against the Rockies. The Cardinals pounded them for 20 runs and 27 hits in the first two games. They entered Thursday’s game as the only team with a run differential better than plus-100.

The Cardinals had scored 102 more runs than their opponents.

The Rockies had scored 101 fewer than theirs.

The Cardinals’ inability to produce at times when a productive out might push home a run Thursday failed to back starter Lance Lynn’s six strong innings and allowed the Rockies to keep pace before lifting away with the game late. The loss left the Cardinals eight games behind the first-place Reds, who won earlier in the day.

UPDATE: Lance Berkman will join Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal as the third Cardinal to be scheduled for an appointment with the team doctors today. Berkman felt weakness in his surgically repaired right knee during his final at-bat. "It's just not a perfect knee," Berkman said. He didn't expect there to be anything beyond the same weakness he's experienced at times during the road trip. He is going to visit to the doctor to make sure.

***

Rookie Rockie powers Colorado to a 5-2 lead

Despite all of the heavy hitters and high-altitude displays of power this place has seen in 20 years of professional baseball, Colorado has never witnessed a feat like the one just accomplished by rookie shortstop Josh Rutledge.

He is the first Rockies rookie to homer in four consecutive games.

He has a home run in each of these three games against the Cardinals, and his two-run shot in the seventh inning put the Rockies ahead 5-2. Yes, the seventh inning.

While Edward Mujica made quick work of the seventh inning on Wednesday night when the Cardinals had the lead, the same inning was not handled as efficiently on Thursday. Fernando Salas startedthe inning and didn't survive it. He allowed all three runs and only recorded one out. Tyler Colvin to snapped a tie with an RBI double, and then Rutledge pushed the Rockies ahead with his fifth homer of the season.

***

Cardinals answer, Jay delivers a 2-1 lead

An inning after making a diving catch in shallow center field to end the inning and avoid a scoring opportunity for the Colorado Rockies, center fielder Jon Jay ran the Cardinals to their first lead of the game.

Jay tripled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run as the Cardinals reached the bottom of the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead at Coors Field.

A one-out single by Skip Schumaker started the rally.

Jay laced a ball to one of the deepest facets in the Coors Field outfield and was able to chase Schumaker around the bases. Schumaker scored from first on Jay's triple. Jay scored after an intentional walk to Matt Holliday when Carlos Beltran doubled.

The inning chased starter Alex White from the mound and put the Rockies into that murky territory between their four-man rotation and their resolute bullpen. Smith departed having allowed the two runs through 5 1/3 innings. Batting with the bases loaded, Lance Berkman grounded into a double play to end the inning.

***

Around their baserunning outs, Rockies take 1-0 lead

Something curious has happened after two nights of offensive tug-o-wars that have become common again at Colorado's Coors Field.

A pitching duel has developed.

Lance Lynn has pitched around a lead off double one inning and a leadoff single the next to hold the Cardinals into a game that the Rockies lead 1-0. Alex White, wearing the unusual pitcher number of 6, was called up from Class AAA to make tonight's start for the pitching weary Rockies. He's held the Cardinals to two hits through five innings.

The Cardinals got a runner to third base with one out in the third inning and failed to bring him home as leadoff hitter Skip Schumaker and No. 2 hitter Jon Jay grounded out.

White has 12 groundouts through five innings.

The Rockies have the lead despite their own difficulties producing offense. Twice they've run themselves out of innings -- once when Dexter Fowler tried to stretch a single into a double and again when a steal became a double play on Ramon Hernandez's strikeout to end the fourth inning.

Colorado got its run one back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning. Jordan Pacheco drove home Carlos Gonzalez for the lead.

 

 

 

 

***

Molina out with a sprained thumb, X-rays Friday

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is out of the lineup tonight with a sprained right thumb that will send the Gold Glove winner to the doctors Friday for x-rays.

Molina injured his finger during an awkward slide into first base during Wednesday's game. By Thursday the digit had swollen to a point that it would be difficult for him to throw or hit.

"That's a pretty important piece of his anatomy to be successful with what he's does," manager Mike Matheny said.

Daniel Descalso is the emergency catcher tonight.

Rafael Furcal lobbied the trainers and manager Matheny to play tonight, but all sides opted to give him another day of rest, his fifth consecutive game without being in the starting lineup. Furcal has already had an MRI taken of his lower back, his hip and upper leg, and of his shin. He will meet again with team doctors on Friday to get a better change on his recovery and whether there is cause to worry that his back spasms and tingling down his right leg could become chronic.

***

Berkman joins the lineup as Rockies shift starters

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn't want to mess with the lineup that has worked to win the first two games of this series at Coors Field, and he recognized that with a lefty on the mound for Colorado that would mean sitting Lance Berkman again.

Then the Rockies changed their starter.

Righty Alex White is coming from Class AAA Colorado Springs to start tonight for the Rockies. That gives Matheny the reason he was looking for to start Berkman at first, but mostly keep the same lineup that has pounded the Rockies for 20 runs in two games.

Here are the lineups for tonight's game:

CARDINALS

1. Schumaker, 2B

2. Jay, CF

3. Holliday, LF -- three homers, nine RBIs in two games

4. Beltran, CF

5. Freese, 3B

6. Berkman, 1B

7. Descalso, SS

8. Cruz, C

9. Lynn, P

ROCKIES

1. Colvin, RF

2. Rutledge, SS

3. Fowler, CF

4. Gonzalez, LF

5. Pacheco, 3B

6. Helton, 1B

7. Hernandez, C

8. LeMathieu, 2B

9. White, P

More information throughout the evening here at C-Beat as the game begins and whenever there is news.

 

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Baseball writers Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel cover the Cardinals for the Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com. They'll provide daily Cardinals updates here, from the start of spring training through the end of the season and beyond.

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