The Cardinals finally took their first lead in their three-game series with the Cubs in the sixth inning Wednesday night. It lasted about six minutes.
Chicago rookie right fielder Tyler Colvin hit a three-run homer on a full-count pitch from right-hander Chris Carpenter to highlight a four-run Chicago seventh, and the Cubs were on their way to their first three-game series sweep in St. Louis since 1988.
The Cardinals now are
44-47 this season against teams that have losing records and 22-29 against
National League Central clubs not based in
The Cardinals also are eight games behind the first-place Reds, and their magic number for being eliminated is 10. And, for the first time since they were 21-17, the Cardinals (74-70) are only four games over .500.
"It's troubling. We're all troubled," manager Tony La Russa said.
"It's kind of painful to watch," La Russa said. "Over the course of the season, we know what this club has gone through. To see them struggling is kind of painful. To see guys pushing it ... nobody's taking an easy way out. ... You're hoping there's a reward there somewhere."
Second baseman Skip Schumaker is as puzzled as anybody.
"We can't find a reason for what's going on," he said. "It's frustrating. It's depressing to get swept by the Cubs, who are your rivals."
CUBS 7, CARDINALS 3: The Cardinals completed easily their worst three-game home series of the season, falling to the Cubs for the third consecutive night. The Cubs outscored the Cardinals 19-6, and the Cardinals led after only one half-inning. LF Matt Holliday drove in his 94th run with a seventh-inning double, but in the ninth, he slammed his bat to the ground, shattering it, when he fanned with the bases loaded against Cubs closer Carlos Marmol.
NOTES AND QUOTES
1B Albert Pujols was back in the lineup after missing one game due to tendinitis in his left elbow, and he went 0-for-2 with two walks. He got a cortisone shot Monday night before sitting out Tuesday. An MRI showed no structural damage. Pujols originally hurt the elbow three weeks ago while diving for a ball.
Rookie LHP Jaime Garcia might not be shut down after all. Manager Tony La Russa announced Wednesday afternoon that Garcia wouldn't pitch again this season due to arm fatigue. Garcia has worked a career-high 163 1/3 innings. But Garcia, after meeting with La Russa and GM John Mozeliak, convinced them to left him miss just one start, so far. It appears that Garcia (13-8) is likely to pitch again, hopeful of maintaining his Rookie of the Year chances.
"He was really forceful about how he doesn't want to give the impression that he's deserting the team," La Russa said.
The manager, who apologized for how he handled the situation initially, said, "What he had to say was great. You have to respect what he was saying. So we're going to be careful, but we're not going to slam the door. He's earned that."
RHP Ryan Franklin is
expected to miss part of the four-game series with
RHP Chris Carpenter, after allowing four runs in the seventh inning, left the game with a right hamstring cramp that occurred when he tumbled to the ground trying to stop a wild throw that got past third base. "When I tried to get up, both my legs were locked up," said Carpenter, who didn't seem to think the injury was serious.
LF Matt Holliday, one of the few Cardinals continuing to hit, extended his streak to seven games by going 1-for-5. He is 11-for-28 (.393) during the streak.
A big reason for the Cardinals losing three straight to the Cubs was their performance with men in scoring position. They were 2-for-24 in the series, including 1-for-10 Wednesday. The lone hit was LF Matt Holliday's seventh-inning double.
By the Numbers:
.300-30-100 - 1B Albert Pujols has only to maintain his average above .300—he has 10 or so points to spare—to achieve a record 10th straight season from the start of a career in which he has hit at least .300 with 30 or more homers and 100 RBI.
Quote to Note:
"The highs are enjoyable but you can't enjoy them for long. The disappointments are painful and you carry them for much longer."
- Tony La Russa, on managing.
1B Albert Pujols (sore left elbow) got a cortisone shot after the Sept. 13 game, and he didn't play Sept. 14.
LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) is expected to skip at least one start in mid-September.
LHP Trever Miller (left forearm strain) did not pitch Sept. 7-15. He threw a bullpen session Sept. 13, and he is day-to-day.
C Jason LaRue (concussion) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13. He was moved to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19, ending his season.
RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 17. He was throwing in early September, hoping to get in a game or two, but manager Tony La Russa said it would take "a major green light" for that to happen.
3B David Freese (right ankle surgery in August 2010, left ankle surgery in September 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 15. He was originally out due to a bone bruise on his right ankle, and then he broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6. He underwent surgery on the left ankle a month later, but he expects to be ready for spring training.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7 that found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.