So, Albert Pujols, you wanted to wait for the season to be over before resuming contract talks.
My friend, the season is over...
The Cardinals played a perfect 2011 Cardinals game last night: Pretty good starting pitching except for one horrible inning. A whole pile of runs left on the table by poor clutch hitting and a blown save to send the Birds to a 4-3 loss when they should have won the game by four or five runs.
Chris Carpenter battled throughout the night and certainly gave his team a chance to win. But he struggled with his control -- especially the curve ball -- and it caused him to walk Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens with one out in the third. The next hitter singled deep into the shortstop hole with a ball that could have been a double play if it were a few more feet to the right. Then the next hitter bounced a tailor-made double play ball to second baseman Skip Schumaker.
Unfortunately, Schumaker threw the ball wide of the second base bag and it was all Furcal could do to catch the ball and keep his foot on the base. So the ending inning double play was lost. And then Nate McCutchen belted a ball over the boards to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead.
The Cardinals tied the game in the sixth inning and took the lead in the ninth when Jon Jay led off with a double and moved to third on a Furcal sacrifice that brought Albert Pujols to the plate. Pujols was intentionally walked, which is what I feared because Holliday had already hit into a double play in the game. But with two strikes Holliday lifted a long fly to centerfield that scored Jay.
Unfortunately, the Birds could do no more and Fernando Salas needed only one pitch to serve up a game-tying homer to the Bucs.
The Birds couldn't score in extras and, after being brought in to wiggle out of one jam, new St. Louis reliever Arthur Rhodes proved he's one of the guys by serving up a towering game losing homer.
How demoralizing to twice blow the lead in a game the Birds couldn't afford to lose to a team that had dropped 11 straight decisions before beating St. Louis two in a row. I really thought this team had more heart.
Cardinals Star of the Game: David Freese was 3-for-4.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Albert Pujols' solo homer in the sixth, his 30th HR of the year.
Lowlight: Sloppy defense and pitching again add up to doom for the Cardinals.