It wasn’t the Major League debut Tim Cooney had hoped for, but nonetheless he was grateful for the experience.

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“Just kind of crazy,” described Cooney. “Obviously, it was my first start so I didn’t know exactly what to expect and I just wanted to treat it like any other game. But just being out there in front of that many people, playing for the Cardinals, playing the big leagues, it was a really cool experience. I wish it would’ve gone better pitching-wise, but I’ll remember this day forever.”

The lefty spoke on Wednesday about growing up a Philadelphia Phillies fan and with the exception of Ryan Howard, shared he wasn’t too awestruck pitching against his hometown team.

“In the first inning, he’s coming to the plate and I’m like ‘wow, I’m actually pitching to Ryan Howard’,” shared Cooney. “That was pretty cool, like a pinch-yourself type moment.”

“It definitely got better as the game went on. I didn’t really feel like nervous per se out there, but I definitely wasn’t pitching like I know I can.”

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis CardinalsThe Cardinals bats bailed out Cooney as Matt Adams hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning and St. Louis added a pair of runs in both the 5th and 8th innings for a final score of 9-3.

“After I came out, especially after they scored all those runs I felt a little bit of relief,” said the rookie. “I just felt like all right, I got it out of the way and now I can just go on with my business and move from here. It really helped that the offense scored as many runs as it did and the guys who came in after me shut them down.”

Carlos Villanueva (3.2 IP), Matt Belisle (1.1), Randy Choate (0.1), Seth Maness (0.1), and Kevin Siegrist (1.0) combined to blank Philadelphia.

Cooney finished with a line of 2.1 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, a walk, three strikeouts, and a home run. He threw 52 pitches with 28 for strikes.

“I don’t think it was really the fact that my stuff just wasn’t playing, it was more of I just wasn’t commanding the ball like a good pitcher does when they’re on. I know that I can pitch a lot better than I did, I know that deep down. I also know that my stuff’s good enough. I’ll definitely be taking that with me going forward.”

Cooney is in good company with his abbreviated first start. The last Cardinals pitcher to go 2.1 innings or less and allow 3 or more earned runs in his debut was Paul “Daffy” Dean in 1934.

photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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