All this prompted manager Tony La Russa to say, "We've shown we can string some wins together, and we've shown we can put some losses together. It's not a good characteristic to have."
Twelve Cardinals fanned in seven innings against Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels, and St. Louis had more errors (three) than hits (two).
Of course, only in the National League Central would the Cardinals maintain a 3 1/2 game lead through much of this madness. But when the Cardinals and the second-place Reds meet next week, somebody theoretically will have to win.
In losing three in a row to Philadelphia, the Cardinals had three hits Tuesday and two Thursday.
"Are they pressing? Probably," La Russa said of his hitters. "If you're not stringing hits together, you try to force things."
REPLAY: Cardinals right-hander Jason Marquis allowed 14 baserunners in six innings, and the Phillies beat up on the St. Louis bullpen, too, in an 8-1 win that clinched a three-game series sweep. Marquis (12-9) gave up nine hits, walked five and hit one, yet held Philadelphia to four runs.
The Cardinals had only four baserunners -- two walks and two singles. They scored only in the fourth inning on singles by Ronnie Belliard (his first Cardinals hit) and Albert Pujols and a sacrifice fly by Scott Rolen.
--The Cardinals have suffered seven-plus-game losing streaks twice in a season for the first time since 1986.
--Cardinals pitchers haven't had a 1-2-3 inning in the first inning since July 26 in Colorado, or seven games ago.
--The Cardinals' two hits matched their season low set July 24 at Colorado.
--The last time the Cardinals were swept by the Phillies in St. Louis was Aug. 23-25, 2002.