STL@NYM: Cleto gets two outs in relief

ST. LOUIS -- After burning through five relievers in extra innings Tuesday night, the Cardinals called up right-hander Maikel Cleto from Triple-A Memphis to bolster the bullpen.

Victor Marte was optioned back down to Memphis after taking the loss in the 14th inning against the D-backs on Tuesday. Marte gave up the game-winning run and needed 31 pitches to get three outs in his one-inning appearance. Seth Maness pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica and Keith Butler went two apiece.

With Joe Kelly making a spot start Wednesday, the Cardinals bullpen is already shorthanded and Cleto, who hasn't pitched since May 29, will provide a fresh arm.

"We worked everybody pretty hard so there's a few guys that can go ahead, but we're going to be leaning on [starter] Joe [Kelly] to give us a good outing," manager Mike Matheny said. "And we're going to be leaning on Maikel Cleto to help us out if we need it."

The 6-3, 250-pound Cleto has been a starter for Memphis since May 2, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.97 ERA in six starts. He has a 5.67 ERA through 39 2/3 innings with the Redbirds this season.

Cleto, who will wear No. 63, made a dozen combined Major League appearances with the Cardinals in 2011 and '12.

Matheny could go to his relievers earlier than usual, as Kelly has pitched more than one inning just five times this season, with his longest outing coming on May 25 against the Dodgers. He threw 62 pitches over three innings in Los Angeles.

"I don't think we're really going to give a number, as much as just watching and see what it looks like," Matheny said of Kelly's pitch count. "We watched him throw quite a few pitches in the long outing we needed him and he's pretty adaptable, so we'll just keep a close eye on him and realize we do have some help. It's not like we have to have him just to sit there and soak up innings no matter what."

Molina drops appeal of one-game suspension

SF@STL: Molina ejected after close call at first base

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has dropped the appeal of his one-game suspension and will serve it Wednesday night against Arizona.

 

Molina was issued the suspension and an undisclosed fine for making contact with second-base umpire Mike Everitt on Sunday. After catching 14 innings Tuesday night and with a important series with the Cincinnati Reds looming, Molina said it made sense to drop the appeal and serve the time.

"I knew Mike [Matheny] might give me a day off today, so why not drop it," Molina said. "I didn't want to. I believe I didn't do anything wrong.

"At the same time, I had to think about the team. If Mike was going to give me a day off today, it's a good idea to drop the appeal."

Molina was called out at first in the third inning of Sunday's loss to the Giants and slammed his helmet to the ground in frustration. As he turned toward the dugout, first-base umpire Clint Fagan immediately ejected Molina. He had to be restrained from Fagan and while struggling against his brother Bengie Molina, it appeared he may have made contact with Everitt, which prompted the suspension.

"You don't think on the field, you react," Molina said. "You don't have time to think and that's the way I reacted. I don't want to say I'm sorry I did it because that's the way I play. I didn't do anything wrong. If I do it again, that's the way I play. "

Manager Mike Matheny ran out onto the field in protest of the ejection and was also tossed from the game. He spoke critically of Fagan's decision to eject Molina and was also fined an undisclosed amount by the league. The ejection was the third of both Matheny and Molina's careers.

"I want to get this in the past. I'm trying to move on," Molina said. "That's why dropped the appeal today, because I want to get over with this and try to move on and get ready for Cincinnati."

Tony Cruz will start in place of Molina tonight and if necessary, infielder Ty Wigginton will fill in as the backup catcher, in which case Matheny said he might consider calling pitches himself. "Whenever you're a catcher down, usually it's a bigger deal than just giving a guy a day off," Matheny said."

Butler pitching in pressure situations early in career

SF@STL: Butler makes MLB debut with scoreless ninth

ST. LOUIS -- Keith Butler has been in the big leagues for less than a week, but the rookie reliever was immediately thrown into the fire.

Butler was called on in the 12th and 13th innings of a tied ballgame Tuesday night and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one baserunner to reach on a walk and striking out two.

"There was pressure, but I felt fine with it because I've been in the back end of the bullpen my whole Minor League career," Butler said. "I just wanted to go in there and give our guys a chance to get in there and get the win."

Butler debuted with a one-hit, one-walk, one-strikeout inning on Saturday and pitched a perfect ninth Sunday. He made the jump from Double-A Springfield to the Majors last Friday and has impressed manager Mike Matheny.

"We saw him in Spring Training, we knew he would have some effectiveness against the righties," Matheny said. "But then to see him also have success in the Minor Leagues [and the Majors] against the left-handers ... makes him even more usable for us."

Butler, a righty, has faced nine left-handers and six right-handers in his three appearances. The only hit he has allowed was against Giants left-hander Brandon Crawford.

Worth noting

• Jon Jay will get the night off again Wednesday and Shane Robinson will start in his place. Robinson started for Jay on Tuesday, but with the game extending to 14 innings, Jay ended up playing eight of them.

• David Freese and Matt Carpenter are both riding career-high hit streaks. Freese is one game ahead of Carpenter at 14 games, good for the longest active streak in the Majors.