Cards Locker Room Video: La Russa fumes after 3-1 loss

4:50 PM, Apr 6, 2011   |    comments
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By R.B. FALLSTROM  AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tired of fielding questions about a punchless  lineup, Tony La Russa went on the attack.

The St. Louis manager cut short his televised postgame news  conference and stalked off the podium after Cardinals hitters  failed once again Wednesday in a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh  Pirates.

Face red and arms gesturing, La Russa said it was unfair to  compare this season's start to last year's second-half woes.

La Russa took a long pause after a question about the team's  offseason efforts to improve the lineup. He then went on a closing  rant that clocked in at 50 seconds by appealing to viewers that  it's way too early to be drawing any conclusions.

"For everybody listening out there, do you think I'm being  unreasonable? It's the first week of the season," La Russa said.  "I don't understand this."

Then, La Russa went down a lineup card that's fizzled thus far,  with David Freese (.125), Yadier Molina (.167), Ryan Theriot  (.182), Albert Pujols (.182) and Skip Schumaker (.167) all below  .200.

"Now you're going tell me that Yadier doesn't drive in big  runs? Are you going to tell me Albert can't hit? Are you going to  tell the second baseman and shortstops haven't hit? David Freese,  you don't think he's going to hit? You think Matt's (Holliday)  going to hit? You think Colby's (Rasmus) going to hit? You think  (Lance) Berkman's going to hit?"

"The answer's no to all those things? I mean, did you  accomplish your goal?" La Russa said to media members. "Three or  four times you ask, so I get excited, get upset? I mean that's not  fair, that really isn't."

Players took the stuttering start in stride.

"Nobody's up there just flaying away," Berkman said. "We're  just not getting it done. Guys aren't off to a great start up and  down the lineup."

Berkman added, "I can guarantee you Albert's not going to hit  under .200. If anybody wants to lay a bet on that, I'll take it  right now."

Kevin Correia and two relievers combined to slow St. Louis and  Neil Walker hit his second home run for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates won their second road series of the season, now  having taken two of three from St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs. Last  year, Pittsburgh was a majors-worst 17-64 on the road on the way to  a 57-105 record overall.

Ryan Doumit drove in his first run of the year and Lyle Overbay  had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who won consecutive road  series for the first time since Aug. 20-26, 2007, at Colorado and  Houston.

Chris Carpenter (0-1) allowed one earned run in six innings but  left trailing 2-0 and lost to the Pirates for only the second time  in 13 career decisions. He gave up eight hits, and at least one  every inning.

Carpenter worked allowed two runs in seven innings in the opener  and go no decision. He said there was no frustration.

"No, I'm going out to do my job. If I continue to go out and do  the things I need to do and stay consistent, I think I'm going to  be OK," Carpenter said.

Schumaker had two hits for St. Louis, which totaled 15 runs in  an opening 2-4 homestand. Holliday missed the last five while  recuperating from an appendectomy and is expected to rejoin the  lineup during a 10-game West Coast trip that starts Friday.

"There's no timetable, he's just doing things as he  tolerates," La Russa said. "Do a little more all the time."

Correia (2-0) allowed five hits in seven innings, Evan Meek  bounced back from a pair of shaky outings with a perfect eighth  against the top of the lineup and Joel Hanrahan allowed Molina's  two-out RBI double in the ninth before finishing for his fourth  save in four chances.

Only three Cardinals reached scoring position against Correia,  who joined the Pirates as a free agent in the offseason. Correia,  who was a 24th-round draft pick by St. Louis in 2001 but did not  sign, is 2-2 against the Cardinals.

Pirates starters have a 2.52 ERA heading into their home opener  Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, who were managed to the 2007  World Series by Clint Hurdle. Colorado is now managed by Jim Tracy,  who was the Pirates manager in 2007.

The Pirates won despite going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring  position and stranding a season-high 11 runners.

Pujols went far to his right and sprawled to snare Overbay's  infield hit, but then made an awkward flip to first for an error  that led to an unearned run in the fourth. Overbay went to second  on the off-target throw and scored on Doumit's double.

Walker hit a grand slam in the opener and entered the game  leading the NL with seven RBIs. He homered just inside the foul  pole in right with one out in the fifth to make it 2-0.

"Walker hit a good pitch for the home run," Carpenter said.  "I made my pitch and he hit it out, he's a good little player."

NOTES: Carpenter reached 1,500 career strikeouts against Josh  Rodriguez to end the second. ... Pujols has 994 assists at 1B,  third among active players. ... Doumit received medical attention  on the field but kept catching after getting struck on the side of  the head by Molina's follow-throw swing in the seventh. ... The  Cardinals had two nice defensive plays to end the third, with 2B  Schumaker diving to his left to rob Walker and 3B Daniel Descalso  diving right to deny McCutchen.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)




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