Rolen, who hadn’t played for 5 1/2 weeks after suffering a sprained left shoulder, was activated from the disabled list Saturday afternoon. He played the full game, going 1-for-4 with an error in the Cardinals’ 5-2 win over the Devil Rays.
“With at-bats and with more games played, hopefully it will slow some things down and I’ll get a little more comfortable and be able to perform,” Rolen said. “My shoulder feels good. Shoulder feels fine.”
Albert Pujols homered as the Cardinals hiked their lead in the NL Central to a season-high 8 1/2 games.
The victory was St. Louis manager Tony La Russa’s 2,157th, tying him with Bucky Harris for fourth on the career list
“Career win total is not 2005’s priority. I’d rather be consistent with our players. We’re not talking about anything but the chance to get back to October, and I’m definitely not going to disappoint them,” La Russa said.
Jeff Suppan, 0-6 with a 5.92 ERA in 10 career starts against the Devil Rays, will start the series finale for St. Louis.
The right-hander was on the losing end of a 4-1 decision at Toronto on Monday, allowing three runs and eight hits over seven innings.
It marked the fourth time this season Suppan was unable to post back-to-back wins.
Doug Waechter will take the mound for the Devil Rays, hoping to build on his most effective start of the season. Unbeaten in his last five starts, the right-hander pitched a season-high eight innings against Milwaukee on Monday, allowing three runs and eight hits in a 5-3 win.
“I was mixing my pitches well and felt like I was attacking the strike zone, especially early in the count,” Waechter said.
“It wasn’t the first home run or the last home runs I’ve given up,” said Waechter. “I just had to pitch one batter at a time. After the fifth inning was over, it’s over. It doesn’t mean anything.”