McClellan falters as Giants whip Cardinals
Monday, May 30, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kyle McClellan suffered through the worst outing of his first year in the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation. A bad landing after an early pitch may have been a contributing factor.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said McClellan (6-2) tweaked his hip in the first inning of Monday afternoon’s 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. McClellan, who has pounded the strike zone all season, walked Madison Bumgarner (2-6) on a full count right before Andres Torres hit his first career grand slam to cap a five-run fourth.
“I just think he was out of whack,” La Russa said. “He threw a lot of balls that weren’t near the glove and when we took him out he said he felt a little something in his hip.
“He didn’t say anything about feeling any discomfort but the whole time he pitched, he was fighting it.”
Bumgarner won his second straight after losing his first six decisions. Torres gave the National League’s worst offense a big boost, although they have hit their first two grand slams of the season in the last four games.
McClellan was knocked out after four innings, giving up all seven runs and missing a chance to tie for the major leagues’ victory lead. Albert Pujols hit his ninth homer and Allen Craig doubled twice with an RBI for the Cardinals.
McClellan said he simply left too many pitches up in the zone and wasn’t worried about the hip. He pitched at least five innings in all previous nine starts.
“I landed a little awkward in the first inning and it raised some concern,” McClellan said. “I’m pretty sure it was in the first inning. There’s nothing wrong.”
Cody Ross homered for the Giants, who are last in the National League in runs even after this outburst and had been shut out twice in the previous four games. Bumgarner, 4-for-19 as a hitter, doubled and scored on Miguel Tejada’s hit in the third, then walked ahead of Torres’ second homer of the season in the fourth.
“Walking the pitcher there killed me,” McClellan said. “I get him out, that changes everything.”
On the grand slam pitch, McClellan was trying to induce a double-play grounder.
“I tried to come in and I made a mistake and he hits it out,” McClellan said. “Just all in all, not a good game.”
Bumgarner scattered six hits in seven innings and struggled only in the third when he gave up three straight hits and both runs. It was his seventh straight outing of six or more innings with three or fewer runs allowed, compiling a 2.12 ERA during that stretch.
Torres, the Giants’ leadoff man, doubled his season RBI total when he drove an 0-1 pitch over the right field wall in the fourth and also doubled. San Francisco won easily despite going 1-for-18 after the grand slam and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth after three straight walks from Miguel Batista.
Matt Holliday singled in four trips after missing six starts with a quadriceps injury and is hitting .344, tied for the National League lead with teammate Lance Berkman, who was 0-for-4.
The Cardinals dropped to 9-2 in starts by McClellan, who has yielded a team-high nine homers. McClellan was behind in the count to eight of the first 10 hitters and both of his walks came in the Giants’ five-run fourth that made it 7-2.
“It just wasn’t what I’ve been the last few games,” McClellan said. “The majority of the year I’ve been aggressive getting ahead and keeping the ball down.”
Aaron Rowand of the Giants bruised his right hip when he was struck by the ball diving into second base on a pickoff attempt in the fifth and was taken out in the bottom of the inning.
Pujols hit his 99th career homer at 6-year-old Busch Stadium off Ramon Ramirez in the eighth and had an RBI single in the third for his second multi-RBI game in the last four. Only seven players have 100 or more homers in their current stadium.
Pujols entered in a 3-for-20 slump and the homer was his first at home since April 23. He’s batting .262 with 30 RBI, third on the team.
“He made the same contact he’s made a lot,” La Russa said. “He crushed the ball on the home run. He’s hit the ball a lot better than his average.”