Cardinals lose another close one Sunday

The St. Louis Cardinals lost a late lead, the game and series to Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals shouldn't consider themselves a potential playoff contender unless they can prove they can win close games.

 

After blowing a three-run lead with two innings to go Sunday, the Cardinals fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7 in 11 innings. They now are 12-19 in one-run games and 5-13 in two-run games for an unacceptable total of 17-32 in tight games.

 

A steal of third by Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins led to the winning run, which scored on Juan Pierre's infield hit with two outs in the 11th.

 

The game, however, got away in the eighth when left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, holding a three-run lead, committed the unpardonable sin of walking two left-handed hitters, second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard. Manager Mike Matheny was forced to go to right-hander Mitchell Boggs, which generally isn't a bad thing because Boggs had allowed just four of 31 inherited runners to score.

 

However, Boggs, who had his 23-game scoreless streak snapped a few days earlier, surrendered a three-run homer to Eric Kratz.

 

"Uncharacteristic of our bullpen lately -- they gave up a three-run lead," Matheny said. "But one pitch in the wrong location in a game like this will cost you."

 

The Cardinals' starting pitching was not up to the standard established most of the season. For the third time in his last four starts, right-hander Lance Lynn allowed three runs in the first inning. That coupled with a homer Lynn gave up to Ryan Howard in the fourth inning combined for an early yanking.

 

Lynn, a 13-game winner despite the fact he often labors at the start of a game, threw 86 pitches while lasting just five innings, giving up the Phils' first five runs.

 

Addressing Lynn's slow starts, Matheny said, "We can't put our finger on it or we would have fixed it along the way. But we can't keep fighting back from being in the hole. There's no good reason for it. His stuff looks good. He's prepared."

 

Lynn said, "I hit their first guy, and the second guy had a bunt (single) and then I had to face their two best hitters after that."

 

Utley made Lynn pay with a two-run triple.

 

"You always want to win the series, and today I didn't help us out," Lynn said.

 

There has been much talk of the first-year starter's innings climbing, but Lynn said, "Innings aren't the problem. It's execution."

 

NOTES, QUOTES

C Yadier Molina was scheduled to be off Sunday anyway, but having been hit by pitches near his left elbow and on his left hand in the first two games of the series in Philadelphia made the decision easier. "He's all beat up," manager Mike Matheny said.

3B Matt Carpenter, a rookie, recorded his second four-hit game of the season. Carpenter, giving 3B David Freese a day off, knocked in three runs. He had three singles and a double.

CF Jon Jay extended his hitting streak to seven games with three hits, including a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth. Jay is 15-for-28 (.536) in that span.

RHP Edward Mujica, acquired to pitch the seventh inning in tight games, did just that Sunday. His scoreless frame marked the fifth straight time Mujica had worked a scoreless seventh.

2B Daniel Descalso snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a fifth-inning single. However, that was his only hit in five at-bats.

CF Jon Jay and RF Carlos Beltran collided on a fly ball Beltran caught in the eighth inning. Both went to the ground but both stayed in the game and apparently were all right. The Cardinals don't have a game Monday, so both can heal.

RHP Lance Lynn had his third consecutive winless start. The three runs the Phillies scored in the first ran his total to 21 runs allowed in the first inning of his 23 starts.

LHP Barret Browning suffered his first two-big-league losses in the series at Philadelphia on Friday and Sunday. The second loss left the Cardinals seven games behind first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. "We've had our backs to the wall before," Browning said.

By the Numbers:

17-32 - The Cardinals' record in one-run and two-run games.

Quote to Note:

"At some point, it ends for everyone, no matter what."

- Oft-injured 1B Lance Berkman, on the possibility this could be his last season at age 36.

MEDICAL WATCH

C Yadier Molina (sore left hand and elbow) did not play Aug. 12.

1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list 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 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: Philadelphia 8, St. Louis 7 (11)


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