The Cardinals were done in again Tuesday by shoddy defense against the Astros.
Ironically, it was Aaron Miles who opened the flood gates and turned on the spigot in the second inning. And he started at third base because the Birds thought he would be a defensive improvement over Felipe Lopez. But, with two on and no one out, Miles cut in front of shortstop Brendan Ryan to make a spectacular stop. Then he threw the ball from his knees -- to rightfielder Allen Craig.
It should have been a man on third and two out. Instead the Cardinals 1-0 lead was gone and the go ahead run was on third with no one out. Later in the inning another double play ball was hit to Albert Pujols but the return throw was wild, so the inning went on. Forced to keep pitching without a break in 98 degree heat, Garcia gave up five runs before the inning was all over -- only one of them earned.
The Cardinals came to the plate and managed to make three outs in 12 pitches and throw Garcia -- who made 46 pitches in the first two innings -- back to the wolves. Garcia gave up a lead-off single to Carlos Lee then got a THIRD double play ball which Aaron Miles booted and then was lucky to get one out. The next batter got a hit and centerfielder Colby Rasmus made his best throw of the season to the plate to nail Lee. Except catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ball.
By my count, the crummy Cardinals defense gave away four outs in the first three innings which led directly to all six runs that have been scored so far in the game.
After that it was all downhill. The Redbirds played uninspired and sloppy baseball as they seemed just to be trying to get the gave overwith. They gave up four runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to wind up losing by a humiliating 18-4 tally.
Somehow Jaime Garcia managed to keep it together long enough to pitch through five innings. Some of the regulars got rest as the game got out of hand. But this is one to forget. And, suddenly, the Birds have to win tomorrow to keep their 3-0 home stand from turning into a 3-3 split. This certainly doesn't look like a championship quality baseball club.
Cardinals Star of the Game: N/A
Cardinals Play of the Game: N/A
Lowlight. Everything from the second inning until the bitter, bitter end.