After four really solid outings in a row, the Cardinals turned in a real stinker Saturday against the Cubs.
With the temperature again pushing the century mark and Carlos Zambrano -- who walked seven opposing hitters the last time out -- on the hill against them, the Birds were back on their swing at the first pitch if it's in the same zip code as the plate kick. The result: Several easy outs and several harder than they had to be innings for St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter.
The Cardinals got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. But then the bats took a nap and the Cardinals spent the last two thirds of the game training first 3-1 and later 3-2. They had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth when Aaron Miles hit a leadoff double. But Brendan Ryan tried to bunt Miles to third once and popped up to the Cubs catcher. Koyie Hill gave Ryan a Break by dropping the pop up bunt. So Ryan obliged Hill by giving him a second chance and popped up again.
Felipe Lopez, who has been absolutely terrible at the plate lately, fouled out to third, then Allen Craig waved feebly at at three sliders and that was all she wrote.
Chris Carpenter was just OK in his first start with Johnny Cueto's cleat marks all over his back. He looked stiff and uncomfortable during the game. But six innings with six hits and three runs allowed should have been good enough to keep the Cardinals in the mix against Captain Crazy (AKA Zambrano.
Cardinals Star of the game: Jon Jay was 2-for-3 with a run scored
Cardinals Play of the Game: Skip Schumaker made a nifty slide to avoid a tag at the plate and score the Cardinals second run
Lowlight: The Cardinals' impatient offense.