Since the Cardinals are 4-2 and Monday is opening day, I'm going to take a glass half full perspective about Sunday night's frustrating 8-7 loss in Milwaukee.
Sure, it was an ugly game in which the Cardinals' ace got pounded, the defense looked terrible and the bats were silent at almost all the wrong times. But, on the bright side, the Birds did fight to the end. For the second time in three games they pulled the meat out of the fire in their last at bat. Unfortunately, unlike Friday's come from behind win, on Sunday St. Louis could only delay the inevitable.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols watches the first of two home runs fly Sunday against Milwaukee. AP photo.
The Cardinals trailed the whole game after failing to push in leadoff hitter Felipe Lopez after he doubled to lead off the first inning. And it was all downhill from there. Chris Carpenter was punished with three home runs to up his total after two games to almost as many long balls as he gave up in all of 2009. David Freese didn't help matters when he blew one opportunity for Carp to get off the hook by throwing a double play ball into right field. He backed up on another ball that scooted past him as he flailed helplessly at it, helping the Brewers to at least three of their eight runs.
But in the ninth, with two outs, Albert Pujols came to the plate and hit a two run homer to bring the Cardinals within one run. Then Matt Holliday came up and hit a solo shot over the centerfield wall to tie the game. The excitement didn't last.
Dennys Reyes got the first out in the bottom of the ninth when he whiffed Prince Fielder. But Kyle McClellan, pitching to emergency catcher Nick Stavinoha who was pressed into service when Colby Rasmus came in to pinch for Jason LaRue down by three in the top of the ninth, served up a solo homer to Casey McGehee to end the game.
Cardinals Star of the Game:Pujols was 3-for-5 with two homers, two runs scored and four RBI.
Play of the Game: Holliday's tying home run marked the second time in three days that Trevor Hoffman choked up a lead in the ninth inning.
Lowlight: Carpenter was his vintage best. But Frieze's defense was a killer.