SAN FRANCISCO -- A mild right ankle sprain kept Lance Lynn from pursuing his first shutout of the season in the Cardinals' 6-0 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park on Saturday. The Cardinals are optimistic, however, that the injury won't keep him from much more.
Lynn stumbled his way around Saturday's seven-inning start, even at one point tripping down the dugout steps. On the field, he took his first visit from the team's head athletic trainer in the fifth inning when his right knee buckled as he tried to field a short ground ball to his left.
He continued to pitch until the eighth, when Lynn went down after fielding a ground ball to his right, spinning and trying to throw out pinch-hitter Juan Perez. Perez reached safely, and Lynn remained on the grass for some time while manager Mike Matheny and head athletic trainer Greg Hauck raced out to check on him.
"[I felt] just sick to see him go down like that because he's a tough guy and has a high pain tolerance," Matheny said of watching Lynn crumble. "At first I thought it was the knee, too."
His knee did buckle on that play, too, but Lynn, feeling his ankle beginning to give, was able to muster enough strength to keep it from fully rolling. He eventually walked off the field without assistance.
"The grass must be longer because I was tripping all over it," said Lynn, whose ankle wasn't too swollen to keep him from slipping on his cowboy boots after the win. "Or maybe I should file my cleats down a little more. I don't know what was going on, but I felt like I was on skates for a while."
"He is in there joking around about his non-athleticism right now," added Matheny. "It's good to hear. We don't know what that means except that it's not a lot of the worst-case scenarios going through our mind."
The Cardinals did not think it necessary to send Lynn out for X-rays on Saturday. He'll be monitored over the next two days before the Cardinals determine whether to keep Lynn on schedule to start Thursday. Lynn doesn't expect that to be an issue.
"As long as I can get up and walk, I'll be able to pitch next time out," Lynn said. "I'm not worried about it."
The ankle injury kept Lynn from pursuing his second career shutout. He opened the eighth with a pitch count of 96 and hadn't allowed the Giants to advance a runner past second. Lynn was also bullish about the chance at beating San Francisco, against whom he was 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in seven previous starts.
Lynn's biggest nemesis Saturday turned out to be himself.
"They all do think they're the best athletes on the field and they can make the Derek Jeter-style play," Matheny said. "They all feel like they can do the run and jump and throw. Sometimes it works. Most of the time, not so much."