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Cardinals vs. Pirates, Aug. 8 and 9

I have no doubt that the pre Matt Holliday, Julio Lugo and Mark DeRosa Cardinals would have come home having lost two of three in Pittsburgh.

But it is a lot of fun these days watching Tony La Russa attend the fight with enough bullets in his gun. Yeah, I know it was skip Schumaker who hit the deciding blow with a pinch hit homer Sunday. But everyone in the Cardinals lineup seems to be more effective these days because there is more balance from top to bottom and the St. Louis lineup puts pressure on pitchers all the time.

The game Sunday looked exactly like so many series closers this season where the Birds would get behind and pack it in. You could almost hear some of them thinking that two out of three ain't bad. But the way they played, even when they were behind in the score, you could tell the Cardinals expected to win.

Good thing, too. The Pirates deserved to have their nose rubbed in their losing ways a little bit. To have a team that quit on its fans by dealing away every decent player the franchise had order its closer to hit Albert Pujols in the ribs with a 95-MPH fastball isn't only bush league. It is completely inexcusable.

blog post photo

Albert Pujols reacts to being hit by a pitch Sunday from Pittsburgh's Matt Capps. AP Photo.

The thought that baseballs best player could possibly be injured by a player on a team that is completely out of the race ought to sicken the commissioner. And, if Brad Thompson gets suspended three games for throwing NEAR and opposing player, Matt Capps ought to be suspended for a month.

The Birds scored seven unanswered runs against the Bucs Sunday to win 7-4 After pulling out a 5-3 victory Saturday on the strength of four sixth inning runs.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Colby Rasmus gets it for Saturday. And I think Skippy deserves it for drama on Sunday, although Matt Hollidays 2-for-3 day and all the excitement he creates on the basepaths certainly justify him getting the nod.

Lowlight: The Cardinals ought to be three games up in the standings. But someone the Cubs, who looked absolutely terrible Saturday night against the Rockies, managed to pull one game out of the fire. I was amazed as I watched that game, not seeing many Cubs innings this year, how bad the Wee Bears played defensively. They were throwing balls away, missing cutoff men and generally acting as if they had never played the game before. How they managed to overcome a sizable Colorado lead is beyond me.