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The St. Louis Cardinals optioned southpaw Barrett Browning to AAA Memphis tonight, apparently to make way for the promotion of pitcher Brandon Dickson, as St. Louis Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writer Joe Strauss has reported. The right-handed Dickson was a late scratch from tonight's scheduled start for the Redbirds.
The 27-year-old Dickson made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2011, making four appearances and throwing 8 1/3 innings, conceding three earned runs on nine hits and striking out seven. He made a brief appearance with the big league club, appearing twice in relief in May and did not give up an earned run. He has gone 5-11 with a 3.55 ERA in 22 starts for Memphis.
Browning was called up to the big league club on June 30, and made his first major league appearance that same day. Since then, he has made 22 appearances, logging 19 1/3 innings and registering a 5.23 ERA. He has struggled through August, allowing eight earned runs in nine innings pitched.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook struggled early, and the Cards offense was quiet for the first few innings, but they flipped the switch in the fourth inning and never looked back, pounding out 13 runs in a 17 hit attack led by Allen Craig (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Matt Holliday (2-for-5, 4 RBI).
The Astros struck first, scoring in the first inning when Westbrook fielded a chopper off the bat of Ben Francisco and threw wildly to first base, allowing Brett Wallace to score. They tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second, on a sacrifice fly by Dallas Keuchel and an RBI single by Jose Altuve, and another in the top of the fourth on an Altuve sacrifice fly.
The bottom of the fourth inning saw the Cards answer back, when David Freese followed a Carlos Beltran walk and a ground rule double off the bat of Yadier Molina with a three-run blast into the Cards bullpen in right-center field, his 17th of the year.
The Cards broke it open in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI infield single by Craig, a three-run double by Holiday, and an RBI single by Molina. They continued to pour in on the sixth inning with an RBI double off the bat of Craig, and added insurance in the eighth, when they tagged the Astros bullpen for four more runs on an RBI single by Rafael Furcal, an RBI double from Craig, an RBI single by Holliday, and when Craig scored on an infield single off the bat of Freese.
The Cardinals (68-56) start a pivotal three-game set against the Reds in Cincinnati tomorrow at Great American Ballpark.
The Astros (39-86) head to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets in a three-game series.
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Maybe that's the wrong way to say it. I'll try again: Now that the St. Louis Cardinals are priced out of the Kyle Lohse sweepstakes, they've signed Jake Westbrook. After beating Bud Norris and the Houston Astros Wednesday, Lohse is sitting at 13-2 with an ERA of 2.61; after a strong comeback season in 2011 he's having his best season ever in 2012.
That's good news for the Cardinals' current Kyle Lohse deal, which looked like an enormous bust after he struggled through its first two seasons. But anybody who's planning to sign Kyle Lohse's next contract has watched, all summer, as the price has risen to a place most people don't want to go for a 34-year-old control artist.
Especially a control artist whose xFIP, over four on the season, is a solid run-and-a-half higher than his ERA. I can't take anything away from Lohse, who's been an efficient, consistent delight all year, but he's gone from looking like a one-or-two-year guy to the kind of pitcher who will probably ask somebody for four more years, even if he doesn't get them.
Jake Westbrook, meanwhile, has bounced back from his own mediocre season to be stupendously Jake Westbrook. It's a perfect fit.
The St. Louis Cardinals (67-56) face the Houston Astros (39-85) in the finale of their three-game home series on Thursday afternoon. The Cardinals are looking to sweep the worst team in the majors after a 7-0 win on Tuesday and a 4-2 victory on Wednesday.
St. Louis will send Jake Westbrook to the mound, fresh off his contract extension. Westbrook is 12-9 on the season. In his last outing, he took a loss against Pittsburgh despite giving up just one earned run in 7.2 innings.
Dallas Keuchel (1-5) will start for the Astros. He has lost his last five decisions.
The game is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. CT at Busch Stadium. It will air on Fox Sports Midwest.
The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Houston Astros 4-2 on Wednesday night on another strong performance from Kyle Lohse. The pitcher threw seven innings to move his season record to an impressive 13-2.
The Cardinals took control of the game in the fifth inning when Jon Jay drove home Rafael Furcal with a single. Jay would later score on a Bud Norris wild pitch to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead. Yadier Molina would provide an insurance run in the eighth inning by driving home Matt Holliday with a single.
Lohse recovered well after falling behind 2-1 early. Despite giving up just three hits through three innings, two of them were solo home runs to Brett Wallace and Chris Snyder. Lohse, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte combined to not surrender a hit in the final six innings of the game. Motte picked up his 29th save.
Jay and Holliday both led the Cardinals' bats with 2-4 efforts at the plate.
The Cardinals improve to 67-56 and pull within eight games of Cincinnati in the NL Central. Jake Westbrook (12-9, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound for St. Louis on Thursday looking for the series sweep. He faces off against the Astros' Dallas Keuchel (1-5, 4.99 ERA).
Down a run entering the fifth, the Cardinals took advantage of opportunities to claim the lead. Rafael Furcal singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by pitcher Kyle Lohse. Jon Jay drove in Furcal, and would later score on a wild pitch.
Despite having given up just three hits through three innings, pitcher Kyle Lohse helped put the Cardinals in a 2-1 hole after giving up two home runs. Astros first baseman Brett Wallace homered in the first inning, while catcher Chris Snyder went yard in the third.
Through five innings, Lohse has still given up just three hits while striking out three and issuing no walks. The Cardinals have seven hits on the night, of which Jon Jay has two.
Adam Wainwright dominated the Astros on Tuesday night, leading the Cardinals to a 7-0 victory. On Wednesday night, Kyle Lohse gets the start for the Cardinals, as they look to continue their push in the standings for a playoff spot.
Both managers have announced the starting lineups for Wednesday night's contest, and they are as follows:
Cardinals fans will once again get to fear Bud Norris, as he seemingly only pitches well against St. Louis.
For more on the Cardinals, check out Viva el Birdos and join the discussion.
Adam Wainwright got the St. Louis Cardinals off to a strong start in their three-game series against the visiting Houston Astros last night, and starting pitcher Kyle Lohse will look to keep the momentum going Wednesday night.
Lohse, who is 12-2 with a 2.61 ERA this season, shares the mound with Houston's Bud Norris (5-10 overall, 5.23 ERA), who only lasted three-and-a-third innings last Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, surrendering six earned runs on eight hits and three home runs.
The Cardinals remain right in the thick of things in the National League Wild Card standings, and the Astros' visit to St. Louis with their 12-49 record away from Houston comes at a time when every win counts for the Cards.
The game is scheduled to start at 7:15 pm CT and will air on Fox Sports Midwest.
Wainwright allowed five hits and only walked one batter while striking out 12 Astros on 105 total pitches. The win improves his overall record to 12-10 and ERA to 3.65 on the season.
The Cardinals' offense was paced by catcher Yadier Molina and his three hits and two RBIs in four at-bats as well as center fielder Jon Jay's 3-for-5 night with one RBI and one run scored. Jay also got the scoring started in the first inning, when he trotted home after Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell's balk.
Harrell took the loss after throwing five innings and allowing six earned runs on eight hits, dropping his record to 10-9 for the year. He walked and struck out three Cardinals apiece.
Skip Schumaker also added two RBIs on a single in the first inning for St. Louis.
St. Louis nearly batted around in the first inning, getting a lead-off double from John Jay and singles from Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, David Freese, Yadier Molina and Skip Schumaker off Astros starter Lucas Harrell. Seven hits and four runs in the first, and Cardinals P Adam Wainwright has sent the Astros down in order through three innings.
St. Louis dropped two of three to Pittsburgh, and are looking to break out of an offensive slump in which they are only averaging three runs a game in their last four (three losses).
The Cardinals have Craig, Freese and Molina coming up in the bottom of the third, looking to tack on even more to a game the Cardinals need to keep pace in the competitive NL Wild Card race. Pittsburgh, tied with Atlanta for the Wild Card lead, is at San Diego, while the Braves are trailing Washington 1-0 in the 4th inning.
The Dodgers, who lead St. Louis by one half game in the Wild Card, are hosting San Francisco.
Here's a Tyler Greene trade update that should inspire some Serious Feelings of one kind or another: Since the St. Louis Cardinals traded him to the Houston Astros for a PTBNL or cash (that's code for nothing), Greene has gone 11-31 with three doubles, two home runs, and a stolen base. Admittedly, he's also struck out 10 times without a walk. Overall he's now hitting .238/.282/.400 on the season, a jump of 53 points from his OPS with the Cardinals.
I'm on the record as being a little frustrated that the Cardinals put themselves in a position where the only option was to cut bait on Greene—despite Daniel Descalso's offense cratering and Skip Schumaker not really being a second baseman—but it's probably not worth getting too worked up about, even with the Astros coming to town.
In the meantime, I'm happy to see him succeed in Houston, where they have no choice but to play him. The player he could be at his peak—a guy who hits like Rob Deer, runs like Carlos Beltran, and plays shortstop—would be a lot of fun to watch, even if it's not with the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals head into a three-game home series against the Houston Astros needing some wins to make a push for the NL Wild Card. Since the Astros have the worst record in the majors and a miserable 12-48 record on the road, this is an opportunity the Cardinals cannot afford to squander.
St. Louis will face Houston nine more times this season. This is the Astros' first visit to St. Louis on the year. The two teams split six games in Houston.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT at Busch Stadium. It can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest.
The Cardinals fell two games behind Pittsburgh for the final Wild Card spot on Sunday.