Cheap Seats

March 31: Padres 5, Cardinals 3

Despite three double play balls and a pop-up with a runner at third and one out from Albert Pujols and a dropped ball by Skip Schumaker that allowed a Padres run to eventually score, it looked like the Cardinals would walk away on opening day with a 3-2 win.

Unfortunately, Padres centerfielder Cameron Maybin hit a two-out homer in the top of the ninth inning against St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin to send the game into extra innings.

With two outs and one on in the top of the 11th, Maybin singled to center and shortstop Ryan Theriot took his eye off the incoming throw from the outfield. The ball rolled away far enough to entice Chase Headly to try to score from third. Theriot likely could have thrown Headly out at the plate. But his toss was high and wide to allow the winning run to score.

While the sloppy defense was the difference in the end, it shouldn't have mattered. But the Cardinals wasted several chances to break the game open, hitting into four double plays and getting only two hits in nine at bats with runners in scoring position.

Chris Carpenter, who struggled in spring training after an injury caused him to miss two tune up starts, was excellent and deserved a better fate than a no-decision. He threw seven innings and allowed two runs -- only one of them should have counted as earned, while surrendering two hits and two walks. He struck out four.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Matt Holliday was 3-for-4 with what appeared to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eight inning. He had a big pick me up single in the first inning to drive home the Redbirds' first run of the season after Pujols popped up to third with one out. In the eighth his line drive homer was also a season first for St. Louis.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's homer.

Lowlight: In the fifth inning, Ryan Ludwick tried to steal second and Cards catcher Yadier Molina threw him out by 10 feet at second base. Unfortunately, as Schumaker applied the tag, the ball fell out of his glove and the runner was safe. The next hitter doubled before the Padres made the last out of the inning. Ludwick scored because of the miscue instead of being wiped off the bases.