ST. LOUIS -- With a bullpen stretched to its seams, the Cardinals called for a reinforcement on Sunday. Right-hander Josh Kinney had his contract purchased from Triple-A Memphis, and outfielder Timo Perez was optioned to Memphis.

Kinney, 27, has gradually made his way up through the Cardinals system after going undrafted out of Quincy University. He was pitching superbly for Memphis, earning a trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game. In 35 Triple-A appearances this year, he's 1-2 with a 1.62 ERA, 51 strikeouts, 19 walks and one homer allowed in 50 innings.

"We need some pitching for [Sunday]," said manager Tony La Russa.

In five games on the Cards' current homestand entering Sunday, their relievers have pitched 21 2/3 innings. Josh Hancock tossed 4 1/3 on Saturday. So for the short term, St. Louis will carry a 13-man pitching staff -- a situation that is not expected to last very long.

"Not long at all," La Russa said before the game. "It could get solved immediately if [Jason] Marquis gives us a quality game, and Anthony [Reyes] and [Chris Carpenter] after that."

Perez went 6-for-25 (.240) with a home run in 18 games in St. Louis.

Ponson slated for start: For the time being, Sidney Ponson is the Cardinals' scheduled starter for Thursday's game in Houston. Ponson struggled through 2 2/3 innings on Saturday, the second time in three starts that he didn't make it to the fifth inning.

Asked about Ponson's status with the club, La Russa said simply: "Sidney pitches Thursday."

Perez debuts in relief: Chris Perez, the Cardinals' second pick in last month's draft (supplemental first round, No. 42 overall selection), made his professional debut on Saturday for Class A Quad Cities of the Midwest League. The right-hander from the University of Miami allowed a hit but no runs, striking out a batter and not issuing a walk.

Perez, who closed for the Hurricanes, is expected to pitch in relief for the time being.

This date in Cardinals history: On July 2, 1960, a promising young right-hander named Bob Gibson beat the Milwaukee Braves and Warren Spahn, who was closing in on 300 wins. For Gibson, who went the distance in the 7-1 victory, it was career win No. 4. Stan Musial and Bill White each drove in two runs in the win. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Travis Smith pitched a fine game and was bolstered by a John Nelson home run as Memphis beat Albuquerque, 3-2, on Saturday. Smith allowed a run on six hits, walking two and striking out one. ... Mark Worrell gave up three runs in the ninth as Double-A Springfield lost, 6-4, to Wichita. Juan Richardson went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. ... Class A Palm Beach got a game-ending RBI single from Juan Lucena in the 10th to beat Jupiter, 2-1. Amaury Marti went 3-for-4 and Mitchell Boggs pitched six shutout innings. ... Jon Jay had two more hits and Bryan Anderson reached base three times and drove in two, but Quad Cities lost, 6-2, to South Bend. ... Rhett Parrott's rehab rolled on with five fine innings (two hits, no runs, one walk, three Ks) in short-season State College's 7-1 win over Batavia. Mark Hamilton put up his fifth multi-hit performance in 11 professional games. ... Jonathan Edwards had two more hits, but rookie-level Johnson City was shut out by Elizabethton, 5-0.

Despite his no-decision, Boggs is the player of the day. The right-hander out of the University of Georgia allowed five runs and two walks, striking out four. Boggs, a fifth-round pick in last year's draft, is 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA, 69 Ks, 30 walks and three homers allowed in 80 2/3 innings in 2006.

Coming up: The Cardinals open a seven-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta. Anthony Reyes goes for win No. 2 against John Smoltz, with game time at Turner Field scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.