Perhaps a microcosm of the Cardinals' lost season was on display in the final two innings of Monday's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, dropping the Cardinals nine games out of first place in the National League Central Division.
Right-hander Chris Carpenter was on his way to his seventh straight career victory over the
Dodgers. Carpenter had been 6-0 with a 1.57 earned run average against
But, while Carpenter was extracting himself from mild eighth-inning trouble, a moth was embedding itself in the right ear of left fielder Matt Holliday, who had to be forced out of the game.
Carpenter went to the mound to start the ninth inning but instead of gaining his first shutout since Sept. 7, 2009, he wound up saddled with his 11th no-decision in 27 starts and, at 8-8, still hasn't made it above .500 this year.
Lifted after he hit Dodgers first baseman Juan Rivera to start the ninth, Carpenter got a lifeline when veteran left-hander Arthur Rhodes fanned Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier. But it went away when right-hander Fernando Salas allowed a run-scoring triple by former Cardinals infielder Aaron Miles and then Miles scored on a fielder's choice grounder on which shortstop Rafael Furcal didn't get an out at the plate.
Carpenter didn't get a loss, but he didn't get a win. Holliday, of course would have been the second hitter in the ninth but he didn't get to hit. The only prize he got was that he could take the moth home with him after it was finally taken out of his ear.
"It was a tough one, no question," Carpenter said. "Absolutely a tough loss."
RHP Fernando Salas
suffered his second blown save in 27 outings but also his second in his last two
save opportunities. Manager Tony La Russa used three relievers in the ninth
inning when he pulled RHP Chris Carpenter, who was working on a shutout. The
first move worked fine as LHP Arthur Rhodes fanned
Pitching coach Dave
Duncan was not there to assist manager Tony La Russa Monday.
RF Lance Berkman hit his first homer since July 31, a span of 62 at-bats. Berkman, who has 29 homers for the season, no doubt has been bothered by a right shoulder injury which has dogged him for a couple of months.
3B David Freese may be beginning to wear down. Freese is one for his last 15 and didn't get the ball out of the infield on Monday.
BY THE NUMBERS: 23 - Number of blown saves by the Cardinals' bullpen in 58 opportunities.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He had a moth fly into his ear, deep into his ear."
- Manager Tony La Russa, on why LF Matt Holliday had to leave the game in the eighth inning Monday.
SS Rafael Furcal (sprained right thumb) missed the Aug. 20 and 21 games and is day-to-day.
INF Ryan Theriot (hamstring) was out Sunday and is day-to-day.
RHP Edwin Jackson (right hamstring cramp) left his Aug. 14 start early but made his next start Aug. 20 after taking an extra day of rest.
INF Nick Punto (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list July 29.
RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down until late August or early September. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 31.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Chris Carpenter discuss La Russa's decision to pull the starter.