The Cardinals just can't seem to muster any backbone.
Monday marked about the 37th time this season the team had an opportunity to make a stand and stake a firm claim to a playoff spot. Unfortunately, As usually is the case, they were unable to do anything at all with it.
The Birds got pounded 11-3 by the second division Padres. Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia gave up our runs on seven hits and three walks before being pulled after three innings. But the bullpen couldn't do much better. Four relievers gave up seven runs on 10 hits over six innings.
The turning point in the game came in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out and the Cardinals trailing 6-3. With a chance to cut the lead to one with a single -- or to put St. Louis ahead with a grand slam, Matt Holliday grounded into an inning ending double play.
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But Holliday wasn't the only Cardinals player to waste scoring opportunities. The team stranded nine runners on base.
The Birds lost a game in the standings to the idle Dodgers and remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates who lost to the Reds. Meanwhile Milwaukee gained a game on St. Louis to pull within 4 games of the Rebirds for the second -- and last -- NL wildcard berth.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Rookie shortstop Pete Kozma collected three hits in four at bats in what was his biggest game in the major leagues so far.
Cardinals Play of the Game: In the second inning Kozma cranked a triple off the left centerfield wall to plate two runs. It was the only time of the game that the Cardinals led.
Lowlight: The pitching staff from top to bottom was terrible. But I am especially tired of watching Jaime Garcia stink it up on the road. It defies logic that a player can be so good in one place and so bad in another. Especially when Garcia had the benefit of pitching Monday in the most pitcher friendly park in the major leagues.
For more "From the Cheap Seats," click here.