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March 19: Marlins 5, Cardinals 4

The bad news is that the Cardinals coughed up a 4-1 lead to lose Saturday to the Marlins by a 5-4 tally.

The good news is that all but one of the Florida runs came in the late innings when Kyle Lohse and the starting position players were long gone.

Lohse gave up seven hits and a run in five innings pitched. But a couple of those hits were balls that should have been handled. He pitched pretty well, all in all, working his way out of trouble that wasn't his fault when third baseman Matt Carpenter played a ball off to his side and it bounded past him for what was curiously called a base hit.

He coaxed a couple of double plays and struck out three in a performance that did nothing to cause concern that his spectacular comeback isn't for real.

I'm much more concerned about set-up man candidate Jason Motte who walked two and gave up a hit in the eighth inning to allow the Marlins to score three runs against him, tying the game. The hit was a hard hit ball to Carpenter's right. He dove and would have had to make a perfect play to snag the ball and peg the runner. But, although he got his glove on the ball, he was unable to main control as he hit the ground to complete his dive. It trickled into foul territory as Florida tied the game with two outs.

As well as Carpenter has hit, it's his defense that could keep him from winning a job on the major league roster. He completely whiffed on a pair of easy ground balls in the last three game as he tried to ol' ole play without success. Bad hops are bad hops, but when you have bad fundamentals and don't get in front of the ball, it's going to send a message to the manager that you need to work out some things in the minors before you jump from Class AA to the big leagues. The Cardinals might give Carpenter a taste of the big leages until Nick Punto recovers from his sports hernia operation. But I suspect he shouldn't buy a house in St. Louis just yet.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Albert Pujols led Cardinals hitters with a 2-for-4 day with a walk and played some pretty snazzy defense at first base, killing one rally with a diving stop and a toss to Lohse who covered first base.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Pujols' diving stop

Lowlight: Motte's eighth inning meltdown.

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