You can sugar coat it any way you want, but there's no excuse for the Cardinals to lose two of three games to the Cubs over the weekend.
Chicago came to St. Louis winners of four games in their last 18. And they have only won two series since the All-Star Game -- both of them against the Redbirds... Ugly.
Unfortunately the new Kyle Lohse looked a lot like the old Kyle Lohse when he started his first game Sunday since having forearm surgery: Three innings pitched, seven earner runs on six hits and two walks. He also allowed two home runs. He was Jeff Suppan like -- passable but certainly not great -- through the third inning. But he ran out of gas in the fourth and gave up six runs in the fourth without getting an out. His season ERA was in the high fives when he started the game. And, somehow, it went up to 6.79 before the smoke cleared.
Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan jumps out of the way of a pitch from Cubs starter Ryan Dumpster... I mean Dempster in the seventh inning Sunday. AP photo.
The Cardinals were down 8-1 -- the only run coming on Albert Pujols' 30th homer of the season in the bottom of the first -- when manager Tony La Russa started to pull the starters. The move came back to haunt the skipper in the bottom of the ninth when the Birds rallied and had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. But instead of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina at the plate it was Felipe Lopez, Randy Winn and Steven Hill in the line of fire.
Hill, who hit his first major league homer in his previous at-bat, grounded a ball up the middle that seemed like it might scoot through to tie the game. But the play was made and the Redbirds lost 9-7 and fell back to second base in the standings.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Hill
Cardinals Play of the Game: Hill's homer
Lowlight: Meet the new Lohse, same as the old Lohse.