Cheap Seats

April 6: Pirates 3, Cardinals 1

The only thing different unusual about today's Cardinals loss than the three that preceded it was the fact that manager Tony La Russa had the gall to be offended by questions from reporters about the team's anemic offense.

The Cardinals were completely stymied by mediocre to poor Pirates pitchers throughout the series. Wednesday was no different as Kevin Correia held St. Louis to five hits over seven innings to get the win.

Birds starter Chris Carpenter pitched very well, allowing two runs over seven innings. He allowed eight Pittsburgh hits and no walks and struck out six. But he was saddled with the loss as the Cardinals hitters couldn't mount an attack. The Redbirds only run came in the ninth inning.

Some of the Cardinals problems can be chalked up to bad luck. Albert Pujols hit a ball to the wall today that looked like it was going to easily leave the park for a homer. Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutcheon had to make three running catches and another ball drove the Buc's rightfielder toward the wall to make the catch. But it's hard to believe that all the St. Louis batters are just unlucky at the same time.

Shortstop Ryan Theriot, a popgun hitter who has only a handful of homers to his credit during the course of his career, keeps hitting 200-foot lazy fly balls. Pujols has tried to pull just about every ball he's seen. On Monday he grounded out to third base three times in a row, which is a rut he got in last season as he flirted with a sub .300 batting average for the first time in his career.  When Albert is at his best, he sprays the ball all over the field -- especially to right center.

It's frustrating with how well the Cardinals have been pitching to see the offense play so poorly. But it's even worst that the Birds have started the season 2-4 against the low rent Padres and Pirates.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Chris Carpenter

Cardinals Play of the Game: Infielder Daniel Descalso made an excellent play in the field late in the game with a Pirates runner at third base and only one out. He snagged a hard hit ball down the line, diving toward the base. That forced the base runner to retreat and Descalso was able to get the second out of the inning at first, giving the Cardinals the chance to wiggle off the hook.

Lowlight: Albert Pujols tried to make a spectacular play in the fourth, diving far to his right to knock down a Pirate grounder. But he tried to throw the ball from his back when he had no play and threw the ball away to allow the runner go to second. The miscue allowed the Pirates to score one run. And Lance Berkman's misplay of the RBI single almost allowed the Bucs a take to take advantage of the Cardinals again.

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