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Game Updates: Cards vs. Nationals

Game Updates: Cards vs. Nationals

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WASHINGTON -- Leftovers from the Cardinals' hard-to-digest 13-inning 11-10 loss to the Washington Nationals.

The Redbirds have lost two of their last three starts behind Chris Carpenter, who allowed 10 hits and six runs (three earned) Thursday. They had won seven consecutive games started by Carpenter through Aug. 9.

Center fielder Jon Jay endured an 0-for-7 night that dragged his average from .353 to .340.

Randy Winn and Brendan Ryan began the 12th and 13th innings by reaching second base with none out. Neither advanced.

The Nationals intentionally walked Albert Pujols in his last three plate appearances, giving him 31 this season. He set a career-high with 44 intentional walks last season.

La Russa employed every reliever except Mike MacDougal, meaning MacDougal may see early use today behind Jaime Garcia.

Thursday's loss dropped the Cardinals to 67-56, leaving them 49-48 since May 3.

Randy Winn's four hits raised his average from .245 to .269. The switch-hitter's two-run, ninth-inning single against Sean Burnett was his first RBIs in 29 at-bats against lefties since arriving in St. Louis.

Colby Rasmus struck out in a seventh-inning pinch hit appearance. He is 0-for-7 since Aug. 11. Thursday's appearance was his first since Aug. 18 and makes it impossible for the Cardinals to backdate him on the disabled list should he encounter complications with his right calf.

Pujols has 17 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs, this month. He has struck out only six times in 86 at-bats this month. Pujols is hitting .419 this month

Cards Lose Marathon, Fall 4 Games Behind Reds

Shortstop Ian Desmond's one-out single off second baseman Aaron Miles' glove scored Nyjer Morgan to give the Washington Nationals a 11-10 win Thursday night over the Cardinals at Nationals Park.

The 13-inning loss was the Cardinals' third straight against last-place competition and drops them four games behind the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds.

The 3:45 game left Blake Hawksworth (4-8) the losing pitcher. It also saw first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 400th home run then nearly suffer a significant ankle injury. Left fielder Matt Holliday was removed from the 9th inning after being hit on the left hand.

The Cardinals were outhit, 16-14, and both trailed and led by two runs in the ninth inning. They also put the leadoff hitter in scoring position with none out in the last two innings but never pushed him to third base.

Pujols' Slip

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols remains in the game after rolling his right ankle in the 11th inning of a 10-10 marathon against the Washington Nationals.

Pujols stayed down for several minutes while clutching at his ankle. He was helped to his feet and remained in the game.

The Cardinals enter the 13th inning with one remaining position player, catcher Bryan Anderson, and two relievers, Blake Hawksworth and Mike MacDougal. The Nationals have just summoned their last available reliever, Doug Slaten. Pujols may find getting a pitch to hit difficult from here on. The pitcher's spot is fourth in TLR's lineup. 

Extras, Extras

Down to their last three outs, the Cardinals rallied for four ninth-inning runs to take a 10-8 lead over the Washington Nationals.

Needing only three outs to steal a win, they instead endured a two-run home run by Nats left fielder Roger Bernadina against Ryan Franklin that sent the game into extra innings.

The Cardinals got there without Matt Holliday, who was removed from the game after taking a pitch off the left hand during the ninth-inning rally. Holliday, hit by Nats closer Drew Storen, has been diagnosed with a bruised left hand. Allen Craig has taken over his position.

Franklin, without a save chance since Aug. 13, failed to hold the Cardinals' two-run lead when he returned to pitch a second frame. Franklin was inserted into an 8-6 game to get work after not pitching for five days.

Trever Miller, the Cardinals' lone lefthanded reliever, has come on to start the 10th in a 10-10 game.

Ryan Resurrected

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he didn't want to "bury" shortstop Brendan Ryan beneath an unfavorable matchup against Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, so he started Felipe Lopez instead. The assignment represented a rare departure from Ryan starting behind Cardinals co-ace Chris Carpenter, who prefers Ryan's presence on defense.

A fitful first three innings for Lopez led to a change.

La Russa replaced Lopez with Ryan immediately after the Cardinals used a four-run fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead.

Lopez threw late on Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond's second-inning ground ball, then threw over first baseman Albert Pujols' head for a third-inning error that led to three unearned runs.

Carpenter's pitch count is rapidly escalating. He is at 88 with the bases loaded and no one out in the sixth inning. Carpenter faced four additional hitters, allowing three consecutive hits, after Flip's third-inning error.

Pujols Smashes HR No. 400

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols slammed an 0-1 fourth-inning pitch for the 400th home run of his career. Pujols became the 47th player in major league history to reach the milestone when he drove a pitch from Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann over the right-center field.

Pujols, 30, becomes the third-youngest player to reach 400 home runs. (Only Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey, Jr. were younger.) He got there in his 10th major-league season. Pujols smashed Home Run No. 400 in his 5,615th career at-bat, fifth-quickest all-time.

Thursday's shot was Pujols' 11th in his last 22 games and left him with a league-leading 34 this season. It also pulled the Cardinals within 3-2 after the Nationals scored three unearned  runs in the bottom of the third inning. Pujols' recent power binge has moved him past Graig Nettles, Jim Edmonds, Joe Carter, Andres Galarraga, Dale Murphy and Al Kaline on the all-time list.

Pujols to be Honored on The Mall

Pujols will be among several honorees at a Saturday rally staged on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and organized by Fox News television and radio host Glenn Beck.

Though the club has not advertised Pujols' presence at a rally many believe mayl carry political overtones, a number of team officials and invited guests will attend as VIP's. The event, held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, is expected to draw more than 20,000, many of them with ties to the conservative Tea Party movement.

Pujols will be recognized for his charitable faith-based work in connection with the Pujols Family Foundation. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is expected to introduce the three-time MVP.

La Russa insisted the event will not become a political forum, though former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is also scheduled to appear.

"I made it clear when we were approached. I said, 'If it's political I wouldn't even approach Albert with it.' I don't want to be there if it's political. The group that's going to benefit, those Fallen Warriors, is legitimate."

La Russa, Pujols and numerous other Cardinal staff and players met Beck and fellow conservative talk-show host Bill O'Reilly when the two played Chaifetz Arena in June. Pujols autographed a bat for Beck.

"I made the point several times: What is this about?" La Russa said. "Now, by association, now some of the people... but invitations were sent out across party lines, different disciplines, all kinds of stuff. I doin't know who's going to be there, who's going to accept it. But the gist of the day is not political. I think it's a really good concept, actually."

Rasmus on Hold

Center fielder Colby Rasmus just finished running sprints in the Nationals Park outfield under supervision of strength and conditioning coach Pete Prinzi before Thursday's series opener against the Washington Nationals. Rasmus said beforehand that it is possible his right calf may not allow him to appear in this weekend's four-game series.

"I look at it as if it comes down to being available the last month of the season and the playoffs," Rasmus said. "I like my chances if I take my time and do what I've got to do to make sure it's right, so when I get out there I don't make a cut on a fly ball or run the bases and it blows out and I'm out for the rest of the season."

Tonight represents Rasmus' ninth consecutive missed start. In his absence, manager Tony La Russa has moved Jon Jay to center field and given almost nightly auditions to varying hitters in the No. 5 hole behind Matt Holliday.

"I mean I want to play and I want to contribute," he said. "When I was playing I might have been a little down. But I want to do good. I don't like not playing good. Just like anybody doesn't like me not playing good.

"It's a tough game. I have to make sure it's right."

Manager Tony La Russa refused to speculate on when Rasmus might return.

Rasmus said he ran with about "40 percent" effort in the outfield before Wednesday's series finale in Pittsburgh. Given how far removed he is from running with maximum push, he downplayed any possibility of appearing before Saturday. 

Winn Hits Fifth

The Cardinals continue to wait for center fielder Colby Rasmus' right calf to cooperate with a stretch drive. In the meantime, manager Tony La Russa continues to "mix and match" with the No. 5 spot in the batting order.

Switch-hitter Randy Winn handles the role in addition to right field duties tonight. Winn is one of three Cardinals who will swing lefthanded against Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman, who makes his first appearance of the season barely one year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. This is Zimmerman's second appearance against the Cardinals, who beat him 6-2 on May 1, 2009.

Chris Carpenter counters for the Cardinals. He is 6-1 with a career 3.30 ERA against the Nationals, including a 3-2 win at Busch Stadium May 18.

The Rest:

Cardinals

SS Felipe Lopez

CF Jon Jay

1B Albert Pujols

LF Matt Holliday

RF Randy Winn

C Yadier Molina

2B Skip Schumaker

3B Pedro Feliz

P Chris Carpenter

Nationals

2B Adam Kennedy

CF Nyjer Morgan

3B Ryan Zimmerman

1B Adam Dunn

SS Ian Desmond

LF Roger Bernadina

C Pudge Rodriguez

RF Willie Harris

P Jordan Zimmerman

 

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