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Cardinals at Reds, Sept. 29

Well, that was discouraging...

The Cardinals got pounded 7-2 by the fourth place Reds Tuesday, putting a dent in their hopes of nabbing home field advantage in the National League playoffs.

Joel Pineiro, who has been remarkable steady this season, was taken over the boards three times by the Cincinnati batsmen. He gave up seven earned runs on eight hits and a walk to drive his season ERA up to 3.44 and lower his record to 15-12.

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Cardinals hitter Mark DeRosa strikes out on a pitch from Reds starter Homer Bailey. Bailey held the Redbirds to one run on seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and, would you believe, struck out... seven? AP photo.

On the bright side, Jason LaRue was 2-for-2 in his return to Cincy, where he was a first string catcher once upon a time. Left fielder Matt Holliday had two hits in four trips to the plate.

Cardinals Star of the Game: David Freese hit his first major league homer, bringing a little bit of cheer to a lost cause. Freese and veteran third baseman Troy Glaus are believed to be fighting for a post season roster spot. Glaus batted after Freese circled the bases in the ninth inning and hit his own long fly ball... to the warning track.

Lowlight: Pineiro isn't sending encouraging signs as the Cardinals are getting ready to embark on their post season journey -- a trip during which he is expected to be counted on heavily. He was pounded early and often. Meanwhile the St. Louis offense was again missing in action.