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Gonzalez learns hard lessons in debut

Phillies righty allows 10 hits and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings vs. the Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Phillies rookie Severino Gonzalez made history Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

He and teammate Carlos Ruiz became the first Panamanian-born battery to start a game in Major League Baseball history. But Gonzalez's historical debut deteriorated soon after he threw his first pitch to Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay in the bottom of the first inning.

The Cardinals battered Gonzalez for 10 hits and seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings in an 11-5 victory.

"I tried to hit the catcher's mitt every time, but unfortunately my command was not there," Gonzalez said through a translator, Phillies first-base coach Juan Samuel.

Gonzalez became the first Phillies starter to last fewer than three innings in his big league debut since Rafael Quirico lasted 1 2/3 innings on June 25, 1996.

"One thing I learned is that I need to keep the ball down up here," Gonzalez said. "That's definitely for sure. I learned that."

"It seemed like he really didn't establish both sides of the plate with his fastball, keeping them honest," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg added. "It seems like most of the balls were over the plate and they would get extended and have good swings at them. It was an experience for him. I'm sure that he'd like to make some adjustments the next time out."

Matt Carpenter got the ball rolling for St. Louis in the first inning. He ripped a triple to right-center field with one out and scored on Matt Holliday's double to left-center field. Holliday scored on a single from Matt Adams to make it 2-0.

Video: [email protected]: Holliday drives an RBI double off Gonzalez

The Cardinals picked up three more hits and a walk in the second to score two more runs to make it 4-0. They scored three more runs in the third, when Sandberg removed Gonzalez.

The Cardinals finished the inning with a 7-2 lead.

"We cranked some balls today that were held up," Jay said.

"As soon as Jon Jay goes up and as soon as Matt Carpenter scores, he comes through and starts telling guys what he saw," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think that helps, but they did just need to stick with their own game plan and trust their stroke, and right from the top, they all had a pretty nice approach."

The Cardinals certainly looked comfortable in the batter's box against Gonzalez, taking healthy cuts at everything he threw.

Gonzalez is expected to make another start Sunday against the Marlins at Marlins Park. Sandberg expects they will talk more about Gonzalez's game plan. That could include getting him to pitch inside more frequently and maybe make the hitters move their feet a little bit.

"I'm going to stay calm," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to take some of this experience and use it in my next start."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter.
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