St. Louis (70-63) at Cincinnati (58-75)

  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 29, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kerry Robinson claims he deserves more playing time. The St. Louis Cardinals are discovering why.

Robinson looks to continue his offensive surge as the Cardinals meet the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Robinson hit a 3-2 pitch from Chicago reliever Mike Remlinger over the right-center field wall leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 win over the Cubs and a share of first place in the NL Central.

Robinson’s first homer since May 29, 2002, at Houston, lifted the Cardinals into a tie with the Astros atop the NL Central, while the Cubs stayed 1 1/2 games behind.

The frustrated reserve outfielder, shuttled three times this year to Triple-A Memphis, has made loud cries for more playing time this season, but largely to no avail.

However, he maintains he can flourish as a starter.

“If I had my chance to start somewhere and I proved I couldn’t do it and was on the bench, I could swallow it a little bit better,” Robinson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week. “But I’ve yet to have the opportunity to start in the big leagues. Hopefully, I’ll get my chance. If it’s not here, somewhere.”

Injuries to J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero have opened the door for Robinson, and he hasn’t disappointed the Cardinals.

The leadoff hitter also had an RBI double Thursday and is hitting .377 (20-for-53) since the beginning of August, with eight RBIs and six runs scored.

Cincinnati has dropped five in a row with Thursday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss to the surging Milwaukee Brewers.

D’Angelo Jimenez had three hits and an RBI and Ryan Freel had two hits and scored a run for the Reds, who dropped into a fifth-place tie with the Brewers in the NL Central.

STANDINGS: Cardinals - 1st place (tied), NL Central. Reds - 5th place (tied), 12 GB, NL Central.

CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Dan Haren (3-4, 4.07 ERA). Haren is 1-1 with a 4.21 ERA over his last three starts. The 22-year-old right-hander didn’t receive a decision in St. Louis’ 9-4 loss to Philadelphia last Friday, allowing two runs and five hits over six innings. The rookie makes his first career appearance against Cincinnati.

REDS PROBABLE STARTER: John Bale (0-1, 2.70 ERA). Bale was promoted from the bullpen on Aug. 8 to help the Reds fill the holes in their rotation created by their many trades at the July 31 deadline. The left-hander didn’t receive a decision in Cincinnati’s 6-3 loss to Houston on Sunday, allowing two runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings. He makes his first career appearance against the Cardinals.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Albert Pujols, .365 avg., 35 HRs, 109 RBIs and 112 runs; Edgar Renteria, 26 SBs. Reds - Sean Casey, .288 avg. and 66 RBIS; Adam Dunn, 27 HRs, 70 runs and 8 SBs.


STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - OF-1B Pujols is hitting .333 (25-for-75) in August, dropping his average from .372 to .365. … Manager Tony La Russa needs six more wins to reach 2,000 for his career. Only seven other managers have reached the milestone. … Reds - Cincinnati made two more errors Thursday and has committed a major league-leading 118 this season. … The Reds activated INF-OF Russell Branyan from the 15-day disabled list and optioned C Corky Miller to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday. Branyan had been sidelined since Aug. 13 with a sprained right ankle. He started at third base on Thursday.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 30-35 on the road; Reds - 30-38 at home.

INJURIES: Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; RF Drew (oblique), 15-day DL; OF Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Journell (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Kiko Calero (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Reds - SS Barry Larkin (finger), 15-day DL; INF Brandon Larson (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Adam Dunn (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Acevedo (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Dempster (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Watson (kidney), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL; OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Reggie Taylor (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Haren CHC vs. J. Bale DET
3-7 Record 1-2
5.08 ERA 4.47
43 K 37
22 BB 12
1.46 WHIP 1.34