Their furious late innings comeback was impressive.
But the bottom line is that it wasn’t enough for the St. Louis Cardinals. And if they’re going to be contenders, they need to start acting like it -- and soon.
The Redbirds lost in the bottom of the ninth when Cincinnati slugger Joey Votto hit a solo, walk-off home run. But they should have never been in a position where they were tied at the start of the bottom of the ninth.
As has happened so many times this season, St. Louis was completely handcuffed by a lousy starting pitcher that other teams have previously abused.
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John Lamb may develop into a good major league hurler someday. But he entered the game Tuesday with a 2-8 career record and an ERA over 5.50.
Facing the Cardinals, however, Lamb was the new Sandy Kaufax, setting a career best mark with 7 1/3 innings pitched while allowing only four hits. He only allowed one run going into the eighth inning.
That’s just unacceptable. If everyone else can get to Lamb, why can’t the Cardinals?
I don’t care that he’s left-handed or accept any other excuse the Cardinals can concoct to excuse their inability to come through. Find a way, boys.
Meanwhile, former Reds pitcher Mike Leake was awful in a place where he had a lot of success before. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. The major blows were a pair of home runs.
The Redbirds get credit for erasing a 6-1 deficit with three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. But the hero of the game turned into the goat when Matt Carpenter doubled in the tying runs with one out -- and then got thrown out by plenty trying to go to third.
The third base umpire originally called Carpenter safe, despite the fact that the throw beat him to the bag by five feet. But the call was overturned by instant replay and a promising rally was extinguished.
Enter Votto who might have otherwise been trying to tie the game instead of winning it.
It was a heartbreaking finish. But close isn’t good enough when the Cardinals are trailing in the National League Central Division by double digits.