Awful. Awful. Awful.
Brad Penny lowered his stellar ERA by three-hitting the Astros into the seventh inning... and he takes a loss.
Is this some sort of bad joke?
The Cardinals led nearly the entire game after taking a one-run lead in the first and adding another tally in the fourth. Unfortunately, they couldn't do more damage with the bases loaded and no one out. Instead, Yadier Molina grounded into a double play and the Astros hung around...
Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan makes the first of his two errors Tuesday against the Astros. AP photo.
Brendan Ryan, whose batting average has dropped to the sub .180 range, made a pair of unfortunate errors. The first one Penny was able to pitch around. The second opened the flood gates to a four-run Astros seventh that let the air out of the Cardinals balloon.
In the bottom of the inning, Jon Jay got on base after pinch hitting for Ryan and Tyler Green walked while pinch hitting for Penny. But Colby Rasmus popped out. Ryan Ludwick nearly took the pitcher's head off with an RBI single up the middle to make the score 4-3 with Albert Pujols coming up. But Pujols grounded into a force out at second and $120-million man Matt Holliday did the same...
Any hope the Cardinals had of getting back into the game was dashed when Jason Motte surrendered a pair of homers -- the first a no doubter and the second one that should have been caught up against the wall by Holliday.
Final score, the last place Astros 6 and the first place Cardinals 3.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Penny pitched seven strong innings, allowing four hits, no walks and no earned runs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Ryan's RBI single
Lowlight: Although the first error was a bad hop and the second was a throw that could have been picked out of the dirt by Pujols, Ryan may have played himself out of his starting gig at shortstop.