You Can’t Put a Chain on a Junkyard Dog


It’s a saying that I first heard from my good friend Jimmy, and there’s no better one that could describe the breakout game today from Cardinal backup catcher Jason LaRue.  It was his performance, both offensively and defensively, that allowed the Cards to win the series today in Kansas City.

In the first inning, with the Royals threatening to take an early lead, LaRue stood strong at home plate to endure a collision with David DeJesus.  The Cardinal backstop was upended, but held on to the ball for the out. LaRue’s two-run homer in the second put the Cards on the board first.  He wasn’t done there.  Later, in the fifth, he knocked in two more with a ball hit to center that knuckled away from Joey Gathright for a triple.  From Matthew Leach’s recap:

“My goodness,” marveled manager Tony La Russa.  “What more can you do?  Big hits, big collision at the plate, and he got another couple balls that he hit well that were outs.  He just had a terrific day.” 

Braden Looper didn’t have it today, and left the game with the bases loaded and only one out in the fourth, clinging to a two run lead.  Chris Perez came in to put out the fire and pick up the win.  The Cardinals used five relievers, combining for 5.2 innings and allowing three runs.

Luckily, Junkyard LaRue and all of his facial hair showed up to play today.  His action has been limited, but when you let him off the porch, LaRue has shown that he’s quite capable.  Other notables from the game:

  • Albert Pujols hit his 299th home run of his career.
  • Former Cardinal Mark Grudzielanek went 4 for 5.
  • Adam Kennedy was the only Cardinal without a hit.
  • Mark Mulder warmed up, but didn’t get in the game.

The final score was 9-6.  Here’s the complete box score.

Looking ahead, the Cardinals may be short handed in the relief department for the series opener tomorrow against the Mets.  I would imagine that Perez, Jason Isringhausen, Kyle McClellan, and possibly Ryan Franklin, will all be unavailable due to their taxing workload.  Now that interleague play is over, I think there will be a roster move made before the game, possibly sending down Nick Stavinoha for a pitcher.

Kyle Lohse will start the game for the Redbirds tomorrow night.  He’s coming off a subpar outing in Detroit, but the talented Mets club is having a subpar season.  John Maine gets the start for New York.

Finally, don’t forget to vote your favorite Cardinal players into the All-Star game.  Only three days of voting left.