Birds salvage split with San Diego, set to take on the Cubs

    

 After extending their first four-game losing skid of the season by dropping the first two games of the series versus the Padres, the Cardinals were able to win the next two for a split. Both of the games that the Cards won happen to be when freshly-called up Tommy Pham was batting lead off.. Interesting! I’ll take you through this holiday-weekend series, one that featured great starting pitching, that’s now in the books and prepare you for what’s in store this week..

 The opening game of the series was started by Tim Cooney and Tyson Ross. Tim rebounded exceptionally from his first start earlier in the season. Though he did not factor in the decision, one that wouldn’t have favored him anyways, Tim pitched six innings and allowed three runs (two earned). The Padres’ Will Venable hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead, two-run homer off of Carlos Villanueva in the eleventh inning to win the ballgame by the score of 5-3. Yangervis Solarte and Tyson Ross, yes, the pitcher, also homered. The other starter in this game, Tim Cooney, also swung his bat with some authority. He doubled for his first Major League hit but to no avail. 

 Before Friday night’s game, the Cardinals (Finally!) called up outfielder Tommy Pham and optioned LHP Tim Cooney. Tommy, who was battling a quad injury until recently and had been swinging one hell of a hot bat in Memphis this season, (.338 average, five homers, and twenty-one RBI in twenty-four games), was, presumably, called up in an effort to spark some life into the diminishing Cardinals’ offense. Tim was not, I believe, sent down for the quality of start he had but for the amount of playing time he would receive. He just does his work in the wrong section of the diamond. As I mentioned above, Cooney’s most-recent start wasn’t all that bad. The Cardinals just needed a bat. And, of course, to give Pham a much-deserved chance! 

 The Padres and Cardinals were back at it on Friday evening with Michael Wacha and Andrew Cashner. The score was 1-1 heading into the ninth inning. The low score total was thanks to the outings put forth by Wacha and Cashner. Wacha went seven innings on five hits while allowing one run. Cashner tossed six frames with three hits while allowing a run as well. Anyways, the Padres were able to snap Trevor Rosenthal’s scoreless inning streak of 23 and 2/3 with a run in the top of the ninth en route to a lazy, but countable, 2-1 victory. Though he allowed a run, Trevor’s earned run average is still the best among National League relievers. Following Friday night, Rosey’s ERA was a wicked 0.72. Wow. 

 To help limit the ware-and-tear the arms of Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, and Trevor Rosenthal have been enduring this season, the Cardinals recalled RHP and Lieutenant of the United States Navy Mitch Harris up and optioned infielder Greg Garcia. Mitch, as you may recall, was in the big leagues from April 21st until his demotion back on the nineteenth day of June. He had suffered with some command issues during his near two-month Major League stint, but here’s to hoping he has addressed them during his two-week stay with the Triple-A Memphis club. 

 The Cardinals were on a mission to snap their four game losing skid on the Fourth of July. The Cardinals, the team that was the twenty-ninth in MLB to “achieve” a losing streak of four, were able to kill anyone’s stresses of it becoming five on Saturday. Carlos Martinez, the 23-year old fiery right-hander who just may make the All Star team, pitched against Odrisamer Despaigne and San Diego. How did the pitchers fare against one another? Pretty good. Despaigne lasted only five innings but allowed just one tally on four hits. Martinez made it through six and two-thirds innings while allowing the amount of hits the Padres’ starter did but allowed an equivalent amount of runs.. One. Tommy Pham played a part in the Cardinals’ scoring on Saturday, a whopping two runs! He doubled for his first big league hit and, also, came around to score after reaching on an error by the shortstop Alexi Amarista. Yangervis Solarte homered, his second blast in the series, for the only mark in the San Diego’s 2-1 defeat.

 With the four-hit, 2-1, victory on Saturday, the Cardinals were able to remain their sturdy lead in the division. Though I’m not normally one to “scoreboard watch” pre-All Star break, it’s fun to watch St. Louis’s name distance itself in the division. As of Saturday (7/4), after the other teams inner-divisions had concluded their respective games, the Cards had a six-game lead over Pittsburgh and an eight-and-a-half game lead over the Cubbies. 

 Before the beginning of the Sunday matinee, the Cards placed lefty Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list and recalled lefty Tim Cooney. Jaime was scheduled to start one of the games of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Wrigley, but those plans of his were crashed by the reoccurring discomfort of his groin. Tim, as you may recall, started Thursday and was then optioned Friday. He didn’t have to wait the necessary ten-day requirement since the move was made following a subtraction from the 25-man roster. 

 



 Sunday’s series-closing game was started by Lance Lynn and Ian Kennedy. Lance brought the fireworks, both from the mound and at the plate. He tossed seven innings and limited the Padres to just one run. He scored two of the Cardinals’ three runs, all of them driven in by Tommy Pham. Pham homered, the first of many in his career, in the third following a base hit by Lance. Then, in the fifth inning, Lynn doubled. Pham did much of the same. As you could probably figure, Lynn was credited with a 3-1 victory. Kevin Siegrist closed this game out for his fourth save of the season. 

 The Cardinals will head north to start an interesting four-game series with the Chicago Cubs. The first game of the series will feature a fun pitching matchup up- Jon Lester and John Lackey. 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @Curtis_Josey
The photo of Trevor Rosenthal was taken by Annie McGuire on Friday night. Follow her on Twitter (@AnnieMcGuire5)! The photo of Tommy Pham can be found on foxsports.com
 

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