The Cardinals have fallen as far as they could fall and still consider themselves to be in the post season race.
They became losers of five in a row Friday night and dropped 4 1/2 games back in the NL Central when they barely showed up to play wild card derby rival San Francisco. Three consecutive Giants singles in the second inning followed by a two-out double and this one was basically over. The lone bright spot was Albert Pujols' 398th career homer late in the game that provided the final score, 6-3.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hits his 398th career homer in the eighth inning Friday against the Giants. AP photo.
The Cardinals' clueless season of offense was concentrated into a one inning frustrationapalusa in the Birds collected three straight singles without scoring a run. Then Brendan Ryan came to the plate, instantaneously got behind in the count and hit a lame ball to shortstop. He watched the play all the way down the line and appeared to get nipped by the throw at first -- he probably would have made it clean if he would have put down his head and run. The umpire signalled Ryan out which sent him off to a temper tantrum of toddler proportions and he slammed his helmet down on the foul line as he dropped to his knees in exasperation. All the while, he didn't notice that the San Francisco first baseman dropped the throw and the umpire reversed his call. Four hits -- yeah -- they reversed the error somehow and called the play a base hit -- in an inning and the Cardinals managed one measly run.
Starter Jake Westbrook gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings. His record dropped to 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA for the Cardinals. Blake Hawksworth, the guy Westbrook basically replaced in the rotation, came into the game in relief and gave up a two-run homer.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols
Cardinals Play of the Game: Pujols' 398th homer
Lowlight: Everything after the top of the first inning.