Cheap Seats

Game 9, Cardinals at Diamondbacks, April 14

Cardinals  6

Diamondbacks 7

They're explaining it away as a simple rib cage pull. But I still have that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach since watching Chris Carpenter depart from the Cardinals Tuesday game after three innings.

Apparently his teammates do, too. They seemed to lose their starch after losing their ace, blowing a three-run lead and eventually losing in extras.

The Birds mounted a two-run rally in the top of the ninth. But they were unable to drive home a run with the bases loaded and only one out to take the lead...

Not that he hasn't given up his fair share of legit hits. But Jason Motte sure seems to be victimized by the seeing eye sort, too. Tonight he got a soft hopper up the middle that just got over his glove and just past Skip Schumaker's. If it was a little more squarely hit, it might have been a double play ball. Then the runner scored when Dennys Reyes broke Stephen Drew's bat with two outs and the ball fell in for a gift hit.

Also not able to buy a break: Rick Ankiel lined out to Felipe Lopez who was standing in short right field. Ankiel has had to face a ton of lefties so far this season and he has really battled. But he is hitting into a lot of tough luck.

It appears that Ryan Franklin is officially the unofficial closer. He is finishing another game while Josh Kinney appears to be settling into the setup role. Motte is pitching in more or less a mop up role while he irons out his problems and regains confidence.

Kinney's stuff is great. But his control is terrible. He was on the verge of getting out of the eighth 1-2-3 when he walked one guy and hit another before hanging a slider that was deposited over the left field wall for a 6-4 Arizona lead.

Who could ask for more than Albert Pujols at the plate with the bases loaded and a one-run game in the ninth?

I'm not sure why the Cardinals pulled back Ryan Ludwick with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. Brendan Ryan, much less of a power threat, batted instead and waved weakly at three pitches when a sac fly could have won the game.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Yadi Molina had a clutch RBI hit and he stole a base to get into scoring position and eventually dent the plate.

Lowlight: Kinney's control -- or lack therof -- cost the Cardinals the game.