ST. LOUIS (KMOX) –The Major League debut for the two newest additions to the Cardinals (33-25) turned ugly quick for pitchers Lance Lynn and Maikel Cleto as the home team was trounced 12-7 by the San Francisco Giants (31-25). The Redbirds’ defense and timely hitting was criticized for the loss, yet the Giants and their clean-up hitter Aubrey Huff, who hit three home runs, were better on Thursday evening to win the game and the four-game series.
Starter Lance Lynn (0-1, 8.44), the Cardinals 2008 first round supplemental pick, was called up on four days of rest to make his debut. Before the sudden assignment, Lynn had an impressive spring training and had gone 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA with Memphis AAA in ten starts.
Lynn began the game by retiring the first ten batters he saw, but ran into trouble in the third inning. After hitting Miguel Tejada from losing the grip on a breaking ball, the Cardinals infield was unable to turn a double play one at-bat later on a ground ball from Freddy Sanchez. Following the fielder’s choice, Giants slugger Aubrey Huff hit the first of his three home runs to make the score 3-2.
Lynn’s tough luck may have been behind him, and there were two particular plays that stood out from the rest. Aubrey Huff’s home run in the fourth never happens if Ryan Theriot does not bobble a potential double play ground ball. Manager Tony LaRussa gave his take on what happened:
In the sixth inning , Jonathan Sanchez shot the ball to the gap, and center fielder Colby Rasmus appeared to give up on the play long before the ball landed on the warning track and bounced over the wall. Rasmus maybe does not make the play, but the lack of effort was a concern.
However, the center fielder owns up to the situation and explains:
Maikel Cleto made his debut in the seventh inning and nothing went well for him until Tony LaRussa made a visit to the mound after he had already surrendered 5 runs on 2 home runs, a single, and 2 walks. After the visit from LaRussa, Cleto tossed back-to-back strike outs to end the dismal seventh with the Giants leading 10-3. Cleto would pitch through the eighth inning.
Aubrey Huff, who was easily the star of the night, went 4-5 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s. Huff has hit 4 of his 8 home runs this season in St. Louis during the past week. Yet, Thursday was a special night for Huff and his wife, Baubi, who happens to have a birthday on June 2.
Huff explains why today his first career three home run day was extra special:
The Cardinals certainly had their opportunities against Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (4-3, 3.50), but could never deliver the big blow. Sanchez threw 74 pitches and faced 18 batters in the first three innings, and that resulted in 3 runs. The biggest hit early against Sanchez was Colby Rasmus’ two-run triple in the third giving the home team a 3-0 lead.
Innings later, down 10-3 in the seventh, the Cardinals offense never gave up as they sent eight batters to the dish. The result was a Rasmus grand slam to give him a total of 6 RBI’s and cut the lead to 10-7.
The hope of another rally was wiped out when Aubrey Huff hit his third home run in the top of the ninth to deliver the final blow to the Cardinals.
NOTES…The series loss is the first for the Cardinals since being swept by the Cincinnati Reds on the weekend of May 13-15…Ryan Theriot extended his hitting streak to 16 games when he hit a single in the second inning on Thursday evening…Matt Holliday and Kyle McClellan were officially put on the 15-day disabled list…The Chicago Cubs make their first visit to Busch Stadium this season on Friday…The broadcast for the Charter Communications Pregame Show on KMOX 1120 AM will begin at 6:20pm.
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