I know things are tough. But do the cut backs really mean we have to go from "play a hard nine" to "okay, how about playing a hard four?"
For the second game consecutive night against the Braves, the Cardinals showed little life for the first five innings -- their only run came in a Ryan Ludwick solo shot into the third level in left field. But they put up four runs in the sixth frame when Brendan Ryan singled to lead off the inning and Skip Schumaker got him to second on a fielder's choice. Ludwick hit his 100th career double to push Ryan across the plate to tie the game at two.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina watches his sixth inning single land safely as the go ahead run scored Tuesday against the Braves. AP photo.
Albert Pujols was intentionally walked and moved to second when Matt Holliday forced Ludwick out at third. Colby Rasmus walked to load the bases and Yadier Molina ripped a ball right back up through the middle to give the Birds the lead for the first time in the game, 4-2. David Freese then singled in another run to make it 5-2.
The Cardinals lifted Chris Carpenter after six innings and only 89 pitches thrown for pinch hitter Jon Jay who grounded out. The bullpen coughed up a couple of runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run in scoring position when the last out was finally recorded.
The Cardinals were forced to use Jason Motte for a 1 2/3 inning save after Ryan Franklin pitched on Monday. He threw six straigh balls when he came into the game. But, while he walked two, he allowed no hits and his control sharpened as his appearance went on. Motte hit 98 on the radar gun with his fastball and mixed in a couple of sliders and a curve. He lowered his season ERA to 2.08 and helped Chris Carpenter notch his third win on the Cardinals ace's 35th birthday.
Carp allowed three hits and two runs over his six innings. He walked three and struck out four.
The Braves shouldn't have had as many runs as they did. Former Cardinals third baseman Troy Glaus was called safe in the second inning on a play at second base when replays clearly showed he was tagged out. The bad call later led to an Atlanta score.
The Birds improved to 13-7 with the win, which gives them the best record in the majors. Meanwhile, the second place Cubs lost to Cincinnati to fall 3 1/2 games back while the Brewers lost to Pittsburgh for the first time in 22 games at Miller Park to fall four games back.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Yadier Molina.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Molina's two out, go ahead single in the bottom of the sixth
Cardinals lowlight: Brendan Ryan's offensive struggle's prompted manager Tony La Russa to dust off the ol' bat the pitcher eigth schtick and put the shortstop in the nine hole in the batting order. Ryan was 1-for-3 on the night to raise his average to .167, so now this will probably never go away.