Cards continue to stumble

News-DemocratJune 21, 2014 

— Marlon Byrd homered to highlight a three-run sixth and A.J. Burnett threw his first complete game of the season Friday night as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 before 44,061 at Busch Stadium.

Byrd's homer, a bases-empty shot against Jaime Garcia, was his 12th of the season and put Philadelphia ahead 3-1. The Phillies added two more runs in the inning on John Mayberry Jr.'s single and Jimmy Rollins' sacrifice fly.

After winning five in a row, the Cardinals (39-35) have dropped three in a row, scoring four runs. They had held opponents to two runs or fewer during their five-game winning streak.

"You keep continuing to battle," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said. "We'll come (Saturday) ready to go and try to fix it, try to take good at-bats and win the game.

"We're trying. Definitely, we're trying. But we're facing good pitching. You've got to take your hat off to A.J. A.J. threw a good game today and kept us off-balance. He pitched a great game."

Burnett (5-6) spotted the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the third, but was in control from that point. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out three. He also hit two batters.

Burnett entered the game with a 13.50 ERA in four games at Busch Stadium III, allowing 24 runs (earned) and 31 hits in 16 innings.

"Complete games don't happen very often," Burnett said. "I got quick outs, ground-ball outs. I threw my changeup a lot. I bet I threw 20-plus tonight. It was one of the days when the hook wasn't there.

"Normally, we keep pounding the hook trying to get it, but the changeup was effective. That pitch helped more than anything."

The Phillies already led 2-1 when Byrd, leading off the sixth, pounced on a 1-1 changeup from Garcia (3-1) and sent it over the wall in left.

The next batter, Domonic Brown, doubled past first, ending Garcia's evening. Garcia was relieved by Seth Maness, who was greeted by an RBI single by Mayberry Jr.

Mayberry Jr. advanced to second when center fielder Jon Jay tried to throw out Brown at the plate. Cody Asche grounded out to first baseman Matt Adams, sending Mayberry Jr. to third. Rollins' sacrifice fly to center gave the Phillies their four-run lead.

Garcia permitted four runs (earned) on seven hits in five innings. Five of the hits went for extra bases: four doubles and a home run.

"I don't know if he ran out of gas or exactly what it was," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He lost a little bit of the fine location on that fastball, with that sink. He had good movement today, but he got hit on a couple that straightened out on him.

"But it was one of those frustrating things where we couldn't get anything going offensively. It's frutrasting for all of us when we know it's there. We just saw it pretty consistently against some good pitching."

Garcia had little to say.

"I wasn't able to execute my pitches," said Garcia, who already had warmed up before the game was delayed by rain for 50 minutes. "That didn't affect me. I went out in the first inning and felt really good."

Fifth-inning doubles by Burnett and Rollins gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

Mayberry Jr. led off with a double to left-center. Asche was then robbed of a double by a diving Adams, who made a nice scoop, leaped to his feet and recorded the unassisted putout.

But Burnett then hammered a belt-high fastball from Garcia off the wall in center for an RBI that drew the Phillies into a 1-1 tie. Rollins followed with a ground-rule double past third to score Burnett and make it 2-1. Rollins extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

"That's what happens when we leave a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate," Molina said. "They're going to hit them hard."

Matt Holliday's RBI single in the third gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.

With two outs, Burnett hit Matt Carpenter with a pitch. Jay singled to send Carpenter to third before Holliday singled to center to score Carpenter with the game's first run.

Garcia allowed two-out singles to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the first, but blanked the Phillies and struck out six through four innings.

The Cardinals lost an appeal in the top of the seventh.

Byrd grounded to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, whose throw to Adams was in time. But crew chief Larry Vanover ruled Byrd safe, motioning that Adams' right foot had come off the bag.

Matheny asked for a review, and replays appeared to indicate that Adams got his foot back on the bag before Byrd. However, Vanover's decision was upheld.

"I'm at a loss," Matheny said. "I believe the system's right. I believe the system's trying to push technology forward in a way it can be useful for us. But it has frustrated us probably more than anything else at this point because things that we're seeing, I guess, are not being seen at the office back in New York. It's helped us very little and hurt us a lot."

A swarm of moths invaded in the middle innings.

"It was tough," Molina said. "It was as bad as I've ever played, with the moths."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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