One of the illustrations of the last month or so of Cardinals baseball is that right-hander Kyle Lohse has three wins since Aug. 23, more than any other starter on the staff.
Lohse, who had just one win before that, had missed more than three months with a forearm problem that required surgery.
Lohse was 5-0 in his career against the Pirates when he faced them Wednesday night, but Pittsburgh pounded out five extra-base hits in the first three innings, blasting Lohse (4-8) for six runs in that time.
"It's been a long, draining year. A lot of rehab and a lot of stuff," Lohse said.
But he had no excuses and offered none.
"I'm trying to finish strong, and a night like tonight is really frustrating," he said. "I didn't have my stuff. It wasn't the command I had the last couple of starts.
"I really didn't have command of anything. When you have a night like that, you throw your game plan out the window. You're just trying to survive. You fall behind guys, and you might as well tell them what's coming."
But the Cardinals outdid themselves this time in losing to a nondescript pitcher. Charlie Morton was 1-11 before earning the win Wednesday.
PIRATES 11, CARDINALS 6: 3B Daniel Descalso doubled home two runs in the eighth inning for his first major league hit. That was the Cardinals' highlight, as they lost their third game in a row on a trip in which they have been outscored 20-8. Their magic number for elimination from the National League Central race is three.
NOTES AND QUOTES
Gold Glove C Yadier Molina returned to
The Cardinals' demise by
the numbers: They are 22-31 against National League Central teams other than
LF Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to 14 games, a club high for the season, when his fly ball to left was misplayed for a double in the sixth inning.
1B Albert Pujols is hitting .306 after going 0-for-2 Wednesday.He is trying extend his own record to 10 seasons from the start of a career in which he has hit at least .300 and clouted 30 or more homers while driving in 100 or more runs. He already has achieved the latter two figures, but he insisted, "I don't play for that. Who cares about historical things? I play to help my teammates out. Why should I look at the season that I had if I didn't help my team out to win? (The season) is a disappointment. If there's no disappointment in anybody here, then it's pretty shameless."
INF Daniel Descalso, normally a second baseman, made his first big-league start at third base and cleanly handled three chances, including starting a double play. He also got his first major league hit, a two-run double in the eighth inning. Descalso had played third base in college at California-Davis, but he hadn't appeared there in his last two minor league seasons.
By the Numbers:
38 - Multi-homer games for 1B Albert Pujols, breaking Stan Musial's club record by one, through Sunday.
Quote to Note:
"I'm done. It's a simple decision."
C Yadier Molina (sore
right knee) returned to
LHP Jaime Garcia (arm fatigue) missed his Sept. 18 start and is expected to miss another start.
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. He has announced that he will retire.
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 before season's end, but manager Tony La Russa said that was unlikely.
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.