Cheap Seats

Aug. 22: Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1

Well, I've never seen THAT before.

The Cardinals, who never trailed in their series opener against the Dodgers until a near fatal moth attack with two outs in the top of the eighth, managed to cough up a lead in the bottom of the ninth an lose their 20th one run decision this season.

Holliday was manning his position in left field in the top of the eighth when he suddenly grabbed his right ear and signaled for the trainer. It turns out a moth flew in and decided to take up residence. No matter how nicely he asked, it wouldn't back out and fly away. So they took Holliday into the clubhouse, doused the lights and shined a flashlight in his ear with hope that the moth couldn't resist.

It did.

Finally, tweezers became involved and the moth joined the ranks of those evicted unceremoniously from their homes. But what was going on out on the field was even worse.

In the top of the ninth Chris Carpenter, who had logged eight shutout innings, hit the Dodgers lead-off man to put the tying run on base. Manager Tony La Russa came out to the mound -- and was lustily booed in the process -- to take out the St. Louis ace. Arthur Rhodes, who had an 18.00 ERA as a Cardinal, did his job effectively by striking out Andre Ethier.

Rhodes was then lifted for Fernanado Salas who seems to have run out of magic beans. He immediately surrendered a triple to former St. Louis utility player Aaron Miles to tie the game. The Dodgers then grounded into a fielder's choice to take the lead 2-1.

Have no fear. In the bottom of the ninth the Cardinals had their 3-4-5 hitters at the plate needing only one run to tie.

Albert Pujols led off with a meek pop-out to the catcher. The clean-up hitter, Holliday, was in the bug extraction ward of the clubhouse to Corey Patterson rolled a ball out to the second baseman and Rafael Furcal batted in place of Lance Berkman -- who drove in the only St. Louis run of the game with a majestic homer in the second -- because Skip Schumaker replaced Berkman in the top of the ninth for defensive reasons.

Furcal singled but Jon Jay flied out to end the game with another disappointing Cardinals loss.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter was excellent with eight innings pitched and one run allowed on five hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's homer.

Lowlight: The decision to take out Carpenter was iffy but understandable. But I totally don't get how Berkman could be lifted for a pinch hitter when Holliday was already out of the game and he was due to come up in the bottom of the ninth. Berkman's defense isn't spectacular. But it is certainly adequate and the Birds gave up more than they got by replacing him. Still, the bottom line is that if the offense could have done anything at all against a starting pitcher who can count all his major league starts on one hand,

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