Tuesday's tilt against the Marlins was one of the ugliest games the Cardinals played all year.
They threw the ball away all over the field, left more runners on base than you could shake a stick at and committed several pitching sins by walking the Marlins back into the game after taking an early lead.
But a power burst from an unlikely source, reserve infielder Daniel Descalso, gave the Birds enough offense to overcome their mistakes with a 7-5 win.
Descalso's blow came in the seventh inning with two outs. Matt Holliday struck out to open the inning and Lance Berkman followed with a walk. Colby Rasmus singled to make it first and third with Yadier Molina at the plate. Manager Tony La Russa started the runners to try to stay out of a double play, and it's a good thing since Molina hit into a fielder's choice. With Rasmus breaking toward second, there was no chance for a double play. The Marlins cut down Berkman in a rundown but gave Descalso a chance to bat with runners on first and second. Descalso hit a change-up into the right field stands for his first career homer to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.
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The Cardinals leaned on rookie reliever Eduardo Sanchez to handle the ninth inning and it got interesting when he hit the first batter he faced. Sanchez got a pop up for the first out before walking a batter to put the tying run on base. But the St. Louis pitcher got Marlins slugger Gabi Sanchez -- who was 4-for-5 on the night -- to fly out and then struck out Mike Stanton to seal the victory.
Matt Holliday, who along with Lance Berkman started the game with a batting average over .400, was 2-for-5 on the night with a first inning two-run homer to end the night at .409. Berkman was 0-for-1 with three walks to decrease his batting average to .402 but hike his on base percentage. Kyle McClellan started the game well but got into trouble in the third and fourth innings because of his own walks and some shoddy defensive play. He had a chance to get a win when he was lifted for pinch hitter Jon Jay with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game. But Jay hit into a double play to end the threat. Fernando Salas got the win in relief instead.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Descalso was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three driven in as he started the game at second base and finished it at third.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Descalso's homer.
Lowlight: Albert Pujols continued his struggles at the plate. He was 0-for-5 with six runners stranded on base to fall to .231 on the season.