The St. Louis Cardinals have already clinched a spot in the playoffs. Now, they just need to finish the season without any more injuries.
One day after nearly losing another player to injury, the Cardinals look to build some momentum heading into the postseason as they continue their three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
The Cardinals lost 6-5 to the Reds on Tuesday, but the loss was meaningless in the standings after St. Louis clinched the National League Central title over the weekend. However, the Cardinals did get a scare when second baseman Mark Grudzielanek twisted his right ankle in a collision with Reds first baseman Javier Valentin while running out a grounder.
The injury didn’t appear to be serious and Grudzielanek, who has missed games in the last month because of a sore back and knee, is day-to-day.
“It stung a little bit, but I’m fine now, really,” Grudzielanek said. “I don’t see it swelling.”
The Cardinals, last season’s NL champions, have struggled with injuries to their lineup all season. Star third baseman Scott Rolen remains on the disabled list.
Nonetheless, manager Tony La Russa, whose team was swept by the Boston Red Sox in last season’s World Series, wants to play his regular to keep them sharp for the playoffs.
“He’s feeling better,” La Russa said of Grudzielanek. “It was just a freak thing. You hope it’s not serious.”
John Gall hit his second major league homer for the Cardinals, whose runs were all unearned.
Rich Aurilia homered and drove in three runs for the Reds, who remained one loss away from guaranteeing their fifth straight season without a winning record—their longest suck streak since they went from 1945-55 without a winning record. However, one more victory in the final five games of their homestand will end their streak of four straight losing seasons at home, their longest such stretch since 1929-34.
“There are certain things we want to play for,” Aurilia said. “We want to finish above .500 at home. The win tonight helped us out a lot.”