Cheap Seats

April 27: Cardinals 6, Astros 5

I need to buy some stock in an anti-acid company.

At least then I will somehow benefit from the number that the Cardinals bullpen is doing on the lining of my stomach.

With a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning manager Tony La Russa thought his club had a Ryan Franklin-proof lead.

And he was wrong.

Franklin came in and gave up hits to the first two guys he faced. Granted, the first one was a ball Matt Holliday should have caught. It looked like the St. Louis left fielder may have lost the ball in the lights... But the second ball was ripped. And that's all it took to get La Russa to pull the plug and bring in Trever Miller -- who walked the only man he faced to load the bases.

The Birds had to go to youngster Fernando Salas to bail them out of the jam a pair of well-paid veterans created. And when the smoke cleared it was a 6-3 game with three outs to go.

Enter another youngster, Eduardo Sanchez, who struck out the first batter he faced in the ninth inning. Infielder Joe Inglett, batting .105, then singled and second sacker Jason Bourgeois tripled to drive him home to make the score 6-4. Michael Bourn skied a sacrifice fly to make the edge only one run. But the Astros were fresh out of baserunners and only had one out left to go.

Shortstop Angel Sanchez lifted a lazy ball to right field that should have ended the game. But former Astro Lance Berkman misjudged it and the ball got over his head for a double. With the tying run on second base, the Cardinals young righty faced Houston's best player, Hunter Pence. Obviously tiring, with more than 30 pitches thrown in the inning, Sanchez struck out Pence to secure his first major league save.

The Cardinals runs came on solo homers by Matt Holliday and Tyler Greene that made it 2-0 until the seventh inning when the team put together a four-run, two-out rally to seemingly put the game out of reach.

Holliday was 3-for-4 with a run and a pair of RBIs. Nick Punto, David Freese, Lance Berkman, Jon Jay and Greene each had two hits.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Kyle Loshe threw seven shutout innings to improve to 4-1 on the season with a 1.64 ERA. He allowed four hits and a walk while striking out two.

Cardinals Play of the Game: While he botched an easy ball that almost cost the Cardinals a win, Berkman made a great running catch into the right field corner earlier in the game to put an end to a potential Astros rally.

Lowlight: Another ugly bullpen blow up. I hate the sense that no lead is safe that this team has developed. That's poison to a club's confidence.