Relievers, hitters let StL down as Rocks win

Leaky relief and inopportune hitting doomed the Cardinals in their loss to Colorado Thursday night.



The Cardinals' second-line pitching was rather second-rate Thursday night.


Right-hander Fernando Salas and left-handers Barret Browning and Brian Fuentes combined to allow a total of six runs in the seventh and eighth innings as the Cardinals couldn't complete a three-game sweep, losing 8-2 to the Rockies.


As bad as the bullpen was, the game well could have come down to a bases-loaded at-bat by Lance Berkman in the sixth inning.


The Cardinals just had taken a 2-1 lead on a run-scoring triple by Jon Jay and a run-scoring double by Carlos Beltran. David Freese was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and the Rockies switched to left-hander Rex Brothers to turn around the switch-hitting Berkman.


But Berkman rolled into a double play to end the inning, and the Cardinals didn't have a hit the rest of the way.


Berkman's subsequent at-bat wasn't very good either. As he grounded out in the ninth inning, he pulled up lame a step out of the batter's box, having re-injured his right knee on which he had surgery in May.


Manager Mike Matheny chose to go to Salas, who has been good lately but inconsistent for much of the season, instead of right-hander Edward Mujica, who had an easy seventh inning the night before. With a man at second and one out, Salas was allowed to face left-handed-hitting Tyler Colvin, who torched the Cardinals the previous night. Colvin doubled to the opposite field to give the Rockies the lead. Matheny said he had confidence that Salas could handle Colvin.


Salas stayed in to face right-handed-hitting Josh Rutledge, and the Rockies shortstop smacked his third homer in three games of the series to push Colorado's lead to 5-2. Then, three more runs came in the eighth.


"We couldn't get it stopped once it started," Matheny said.



C Yadier Molina didn't play, sitting out with a sprained right thumb that he injured during a slide in Wednesday's game. The thumb was swollen Thursday, and Molina will have X-rays on Friday in St. Louis. "That's a pretty important piece of his anatomy to be successful with what he's does," manager Mike Matheny said.

Molina had thrown out the last three runners who had tried to steal against him, and then backup C Tony Cruz tossed out two more as he had a strong game Thursday. Cruz also doubled and reached base on an error in three at-bats.

SS Rafael Furcal, though he lobbied to get into the lineup, sat out for a fifth straight night with discomfort caused by a lower back problem. Furcal, who already has had an MRI, will meet with team doctors Friday to get a better read on his progress or lack of same and whether the tingling in his right leg could become chronic.

RHP Lance Lynn remained 13-4 despite giving up only two runs in six innings. Lynn survived four walks and seven hits on a day when he didn't have his best stuff. The Rockies' second run in the sixth was fueled by a single by LF Carlos Gonzalez, whom the Cardinals felt they had struck out on a 1-2 pitch that was called a ball.

1B Lance Berkman, who tweaked his surgically repaired right knee coming out of the batter's box in the ninth inning, will join SS Rafael Furcal (back) and C Yadier Molina (right thumb) in being examined by team doctors Friday. Berkman said he didn't anticipate his knee ailment being "anything too serious," but he admitted that his knee alternately had felt good and bad during the Cardinals' six-game trip.

CF Jon Jay, on a night when the Cardinals' defense was better than it had been lately, made two sliding catches to help cut short Colorado rallies. RF Carlos Beltran threw out a runner at second, and SS Daniel Descalso made a dazzling play to his right. And still, the Cardinals lost by six runs.

By the Numbers:

27-28 - The Cardinals' record on the road with 26 road games remaining.

Quote to Note:

"It's life with a balky knee."

- 1B Lance Berkman, who tweaked his right knee again Thursday.


C Yadier Molina (sprained right thumb) was hurt Aug. 1, and he didn't play Aug. 2. He will have X-rays on Aug. 3.

1B Lance Berkman (sore right knee) re-injured the surgically repaired joint Aug. 2. He will be examined Aug. 3.

SS Rafael Furcal (back discomfort) did not play July 28-Aug. 2. He will be examined when the team returns to St. Louis on Aug. 3.

LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 16. After further examination, it was determined that he has tearing in his rotator cuff. He threw 40 pitches from 60 feet on flat ground for the first time in a month July 4. He threw live batting practice July 25. He began a rehab assignment July 30 in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and he was slated to make three or four starts before a potential return to the Cardinals in mid-August.

RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. He underwent season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

Link to boxscore: Colorado 8, St. Louis 2

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories