Descalso starts at shortstop, capitalizes with two hits

News-DemocratApril 12, 2014 

— Slumping shortstop Jhonny Peralta received a breather Saturday afternoon and the St. Louis Cardinals got a boost from his replacement.

Daniel Descalso snapped an 0-for-10 start to the season with two hits in the Cardinals' 10-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. He had an RBI single and scored in a four-run second and a had a double and scored in a five-run fourth.

"It's nice to come out and score 10 runs no matter who's in the lineup," Descalso said. "When you get an opportunity, you've got to go out there and take advantage of it. I was happy to be able to have a couple of good at-bats and help out today."

Peralta, who signed a four-year, $53-million contract in the offseason, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout Friday as his average tumbled to .063 (2-for-32).

"Hopefully, a day's rest for Jhonny today will help," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But Danny stepped in and did a great job without a whole lot of repetition."

Right fielder Allen Craig, like Peralta, has been slow to fire. Craig was 1-for-4 on Saturday and is batting .105 (4-for-38).

Speaking about his two slumping players, Matheny said there's one thing they need more than anything.

"Encouragement," Matheny said. "They're going to do it; that's all there is to it. They may not think it will ever start to take off, but it will.

"This is a hard game --every aspect of it, especially the offensive side. We're going about it the exact same way. ... All the things they can do, they're doing. They're just not getting the results. It's part of this tough game. But it's going to come around."

One player who has not received time off is catcher Yadier Molina, who had two hits, including a double, and an RBI.

Molina, who has started all 11 games, is batting .326 and leads the Cardinals with three home runs and nine RBIs.

"He's got a real nice sense of how his body feels and what he needs," Matheny said. "But those (off) days will be there."

Ellis to Memphis?

Second baseman Mark Ellis, recovering from left-knee tendinitis, was packing his bags and preparing to depart for Class AAA Memphis for a rehab assignment after the game Friday.

At least that's what Ellis told reporters. But Saturday, there seemed to be some doubt as to the plans for Ellis.

"Today was just another day forward," Matheny said. "We'll just keeping pushing him."

Asked whether Ellis was going to Memphis, Matheny only said: "It's looking that way now."

Replay challenge

The first replay challenge of the season at Busch Stadium was the Cubs' only victory Saturday.

Chicago manager Rick Renteria had the umpires look at a play at first base on which Jon Jay was ruled safe in the third inning.

With Yadier Molina on third base, Jay grounded a ball up the middle that was fielded by shortstop Starlin Castro, who turned and fired to first. Umpire Jerry Layne called Jay safe, but after watching the replay, Jay was ruled out and a run was taken off the board.

There was a replay review Friday after Craig was hit by a pitch in the ninth. The review upheld the call.

Managers can't challenge a call after the sixth inning. If a challenge results in an overturn of the original call, a manager earns another challenge and can use it within the first six innings.

First pinch-hit

When Shane Robinson singled with two outs in the seventh against Chicago's Chris Rusin, it was the Cardinals' first pinch-hit of the season.

The Cardinals are 1-for-11 (.091) in pinch-hit appearances. Their opponents already are 7-for-20 (.350).

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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