8/31/2014 7:52 P.M. ET
Cardinals' recall of Kozma pays off in finale
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- After playing without a second backup infielder for six games last week, the Cardinals decided after Saturday's doubleheader that they did not want to be so exposed for two more days.
The plan imparted to infielder Greg Garcia when he was optioned on Monday (a move made so the Cardinals could fortify their bullpen with Tyler Lyons) was that he would return to Springfield, await the end of the Double-A season and then rejoin the Cardinals on Tuesday, once he was eligible.
Instead, however, Garcia is now on his way to Triple-A, where he will become the starting shortstop for Memphis' playoff run. He takes the spot of Pete Kozma, who was recalled by the Cardinals on Sunday to give the big league team an extra infielder.
"The majority of the reason we're bringing [Kozma] back here is he's a shortstop that's played in the World Series," manager Mike Matheny said. "We love what he does defensively. If we needed some help or [starting shortstop] Jhonny [Peralta] needed some time, it gives us a little more depth.
"But the way we've got it right now, we've got one infielder, literally, on our bench. That puts us in a pretty tight spot of how we can use Danny [Descalso]. Then we're left short with a guy who can't really play in the middle if we use him in a big spot to pinch-hit, which he's deserved."
Having Kozma available off the bench on Sunday helped free Descalso to start in place of Matt Adams at first base. Descalso made spot starts at short and second in Saturday's doubleheader and hit safely in both games.
It also paid off when Kolten Wong had to leave with a head injury in the eighth. Kozma jumped in to play second and led off the bottom of the inning with a double. The hit kickstarted the Cardinals' three-run inning, which featured Kozma scoring the game-winning run.
"Not a surprise to us," Matheny said after the 9-6 victory. "How many big hits have we seen this guy have? It's not quite September yet, but he seems to be able to get them done as far as big hits go when we get down in the stretch."
Kozma opened the season with the Cardinals and accrued three at-bats before returning to Memphis. He hit .248 with eight homers and 54 RBIs in 117 Triple-A games.
"I think being in Memphis and playing every day, I've been able to apply what I learned last year," Kozma said. "That helped out a bunch being there playing."
Rosenthal joins elite Cardinals club with 40th save
ST. LOUIS -- Though he has added plenty of unwanted tension along the way, Trevor Rosenthal joined select Cardinals company on Sunday when he nailed down the team's 9-6 win with his 40th save of this season.
Rosenthal, in his first full season in that role, becomes the fifth closer in franchise history to reach that benchmark, joining Jason Isringhausen, Bruce Sutter, Jason Motte and Lee Smith. Rosenthal also nudges his way back atop the National League saves leaderboard, matching Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel, who secured his fourth 40-win season last week.
"I don't really think about those things coming into the year, but it's definitely special," Rosenthal said afterward. "Obviously, being a part of a team that wins a lot of games helps to get in that position. As a player, to be fortunate enough to be pitching in winning games and a player that they trust in those situations is pretty big, and it's special."
Along the way, Rosenthal has blown just five saves despite complicating several opportunities with walks and hits. He has a 1.433 WHIP, a 3.60 ERA and six losses, but also the unwavering backing of his manager, who has resisted making a closer change along the way.
"That's a huge number, and it has been a lot of work to get him there, on his part," manager Mike Matheny. "He's continued to answer the bell. He comes out and has a nice outing today. He's been on the shelf here for a while, and that's been nice. He should be very proud of what he's been able to do this season."
With this milestone met before September, Rosenthal has a chance to make a run at the Cardinals' single-season record of 47 saves, set by Smith in 1991 and matched by Isringhausen in 2004.
Rosenthal doesn't focus much on individual milestones, but he is appreciative that the company that he is now among has helped him reach this one. He and Sutter spent many days talking about the mentality of a closer during Spring Training. Those conversations have continued with Isringhausen and Motte throughout the season.
"All of those guys have been big in giving their advice," Rosenthal said. "I think the organization, in general, does a good job of having the older guys help out. For me, it's been a great experience."
Siegrist returns to Cards in flurry of roster moves
ST. LOUIS -- On the heels of a doubleheader and with roster expansion on the horizon, the Cardinals manipulated their 25-man roster in order to add a fresh arm to the bullpen and a body to the bench before additional reinforcements come later in the week.
The Cardinals optioned left-handers Tyler Lyons, Nick Greenwood and Marco Gonzales to Double-A Springfield on Sunday and used those roster spots to add lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist and infielder Pete Kozma.
The three optioned pitchers, none of whom would have been available on Sunday because of recent usage, will not actually report to Springfield, which has only two games remaining on its schedule. They are not, however, permitted to be at the ballpark until they are added back onto the Major League roster, which will happen on Tuesday.
Siegrist and Kozma were en route Sunday morning from New Orleans, where Triple-A Memphis was playing over the final week of its regular season. Manager Mike Matheny said both were expected to arrive at Busch Stadium around the start of the team's series finale against the Cubs.
Siegrist's stay in Memphis lasted two weeks, during which he addressed some of the command issues that had plagued him in St. Louis since returning from the disabled list in late July. In six games with Memphis, Siegrist allowed one run and three hits while striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings.
"[Siegrist] is looking good against righties and lefties," Matheny said. "It just sounded like he was very fluid, very efficient and in the strike zone. The ball was jumping a little more. It was a good trip for him."
Matheny mum on Masterson's next turn
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals remain mum on what they plan to do on Thursday, when Justin Masterson's spot in the rotation resurfaces. But the way in which manager Mike Matheny answered questions about who will start that series-opening game in Milwaukee suggested that Masterson is not the leading candidate.
Asked if lefty Marco Gonzales, who earned his first Major League win with a strong six-inning start on Saturday night, would be a contender to make that start, Matheny said, "He's a possibility. Tyler [Lyons is] a possibility. We'll see."
Lyons had preceded Gonzales on the mound and strung together 4 2/3 scoreless innings to close the first game of the doubleheader.
So what about Masterson?
"Justin's a possibility," Matheny added, when it was pointed out that he hadn't mentioned the veteran sinkerball pitcher.
Pressed further about the decision ahead, Matheny was vague in describing the factors the Cardinals are weighing.
"We've talked a lot about this stuff," Matheny said. "It just hasn't been talked about with everybody else, and this isn't the time or place to start making those statements. We just want to put the guy out there that's going to give us the best chance to win. It's going to be how it matches up with other teams and how they look. We'll be willing to make that statement soon, just not right now."
Masterson appears to have pitched himself out of the rotation with a poor first month as a Cardinal. In six starts since being acquired from Cleveland, Masterson posted a 7.90 ERA and allowed opponents to hit him at a .312 clip. He pitched into the sixth inning in only two of his starts.
Cards fit in rehab outing for Motte
ST. LOUIS -- One day after manager Mike Matheny said there would not be enough time to get rehabbing righty Jason Motte out on an assignment before the Minor League season ended, the Cardinals announced that Motte had joined the club's Double-A affiliate to make an appearance on Sunday.
Motte's temporary addition to the Springfield roster gives the Cardinals even more reason to pay attention to that Double-A game under the lights on Sunday. Michael Wacha, who is recovering from a right shoulder stress reaction, is scheduled to start the game and will throw 30-40 pitches in his first game action since June 17. Motte will come in at some point behind him.
Motte, who has been on the disabled list with a lower back strain for nearly a month, threw off the mound three times in preparation for this next step. If the Cardinals determine that Motte needs only the one rehab appearance, he could be activated as early as Monday.
"He's going to go down and hopefully get a feel how it's coming out when he gets on the mound," Matheny said. "He needs to throw and get ready to be healthy and come back here and help us."
The Cardinals will wait to announce Wacha's next move until after his outing on Sunday. With Triple-A Memphis advancing to the Pacific Coast League playoffs, the club does have the option of sending the right-hander to Memphis for a second rehab appearance later in the week.
• After playing in both ends of Saturday's split doubleheader and starting 38 of 39 games since the All-Star break, Matt Adams was out of the Cardinals' starting lineup on Sunday. Adams, in his first full season as the Cardinals' starting first baseman, is 1-for-12 this homestand and is hitting .240/.316/.337 with one home run in August.
• Mark Ellis (left oblique strain) has not progressed enough in his recovery to join a Minor League club for a rehab assignment. Ellis has still not resumed swinging at full intensity.
• Matheny said that he does not anticipate any additional callups being made until Tuesday, even though roster expansion can begin on Monday. He skirted around answering whether the club would take additional players off the Triple-A roster before Memphis finishes its run in the postseason.
"Anything you say now, what benefit is it for the guys who are down there?" Matheny said. "We just want them to concentrate on having a great finish, and then what happens after that, happens after that."
• Yadier Molina continues to respond well to being back behind the plate, so well, in fact, that he caught Sunday's day game after starting the team's night game in Saturday's doubleheader. Molina has played in three games since returning from the disabled list on Friday.
• With an announced crowd of 45,148 at Busch Stadium on Sunday, the Cardinals became the second Major League team to hit the three-million attendance mark this season. The Cardinals, who have drawn at least 40,000 to all 69 home games, have surpassed three million in attendance every season since Busch Stadium III opened.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.