Right-hander Kyle Lohse didn't do
much to help his cause to remain in the postseason rotation with an uneven
five-inning effort Sunday during a loss at Colorado.
Lohse gave up four runs, three
earned, although he didn't have the best defensive support. The Cardinals also
left the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings after Albert Pujols
had cleared them in the third with a three-run double.
Lohse, tagged for two runs in the
first and two in the fifth, suffered his ninth loss in 15
"It was tough," he said, "because
I felt even in the first inning, balls were pretty much where I wanted
Pujols ran his mastery in hitting
with the bases loaded this season to 10-for-15 with 34 RBIs when he hit his
three-run double in the third. But Pujols fanned with the bases loaded for the
first time this season with one out in the fourth, committed an error in the
fifth and was doubled off first to end the game when Colorado 2B Clint Barmes
made a diving catch of a looper to right that Pujols thought sure was a hit.
Julio Lugo would have scored from third on the play.
"You just read the ball," Pujols
said, "and if the defense makes a good play, so be it."
Lohse, oft-injured this year, is
trying to catch up to 42-year-old RHP John Smoltz for the No. 4 starter nod in
the playoffs. He will get another chance -- his last one -- when he pitches
Saturday at home against Milwaukee.
ROCKIES 4, CARDINALS
3: The Cardinals
may well be facing the Rockies in the playoffs
about 10 days from now, but do they want to? Colorado beat St. Louis for the sixth time in seven regular-season meetings
Sunday. The Cardinals had three hits in the third inning, good for three runs,
but only three singles thereafter.
--RHP Adam Wainwright's sturdy,
130-pitch effort over eight innings Saturday -- he stranded two runners in his
last inning -- not only netted him his 19th win as the Cardinals clinched the NL
Central title, but admiration all around from his teammates. "If that game
didn't win Adam the Cy Young Award," RHP Chris Carpenter said, "then I want to
know who's voting."
Carpenter (16-4) is in the running
for the Cy Young Award, too, but it sounded as if he were conceding to
Wainwright (19-8). Both have one start remaining before they go into the
playoffs, with Wainwright likely to pitch Game 2 in the postseason and Carpenter
Game 1. Even manager Tony La Russa said, "He may have won the (Cy Young) award
in that eighth inning."
--1B Albert Pujols has set the
National League record for assists in a season with 183. The former record was
180 by the Cubs' Mark Grace in 1990. Pujols stands just one behind Boston's Bill Buckner
(1985) for the major league record.
BY THE NUMBERS: 37-18 --
Cardinals' record in the first 55 games LF Matt Holliday played for
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I nit-pick. But I
feel the progress I'm making is pretty darn good." -- RHP John Smoltz, after his
sixth of six straight good starts for the Cardinals.
--C Yadier Molina was joined in
injury dry dock Sunday by SS Brendan Ryan, who had to come out of the game in
the fourth inning after having his right index finger nicked by a pitch while he
was trying to bunt. Molina had to exit the previous night's game when a bunt
attempt by Colorado 2B Clint Barmes glanced off the shin
guard protecting his left knee. Molina nonetheless suffered a significant
bruise, and manager Tony La Russa had doubt Molina would be ready for the team's
next game, Tuesday in Cincinnati. But Molina said, "It will be
--LF Matt Holliday was sick with
the flu, so manager Tony La Russa started an odd outfield configuration Sunday
against Colorado LHP Jorge De La Rosa. They were all right-handed hitters, but
only Ryan Ludwick really had played much outfield this year. Ludwick was moved
from right field to left. Mark DeRosa, who has played outfield in the past, went
from third base to right field, and INF Tyler Greene played center field (for
three innings) for the first time since high school. La Russa kept
left-handed-hitting OFs Colby Rasmus and Rick Ankiel on the bench at the start
of the game because La Russa said, "I don't think we're competitive against (De
La Rosa) if one of our left-handed hitters has to play center
--3B David Freese, a St. Louisan
who opened the season on the roster, got his first start since being brought
back from Class AAA Memphis. He fanned twice and had an infield hit in four
LF Matt Holliday (flu) did not
play Sept. 27.
SS Brendan Ryan (bruised right
index finger) left the Sept. 27 game.
C Yadier Molina (sore left knee)
left the Sept. 26 game, and he didn't play Sept. 27. He is
3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique
muscle) has not played since Sept. 12. He is out