Marquis is an unlikely candidate to be tied for the National League lead in wins at 12. He has been at 12 for a while, though, and he didn't even navigate three innings Tuesday night in a 10-3 loss at Cincinnati.
Marquis (12-10) has a 5.82 ERA now after giving up four runs on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings, representing his shortest outing of the season.
Two starts ago, he didn't make it through the fourth, so there is considerable cause for concern.
Jorge Sosa threw three scoreless innings in relief before leaving the game after giving up a leadoff hit in the seventh. Then the rest of the bullpen came unglued, as Tyler Johnson, Braden Looper, Josh Hancock and Adam Wainwright were part of a six-run Reds burst -- three each in the seventh and eighth.
Looper came out in the eighth after facing just two hitters, apparently bothered by a stiff back.
REPLAY: Cincinnati right fielder Ryan Freel hurt the Cardinals with his bat, speed and glove. He had three hits, scored three runs and helped prevent a big inning in the fifth when he made a full-length diving catch to rob Albert Pujols of an extra-base hit when the score was only 4-1.
Right-hander Jason Marquis (12-10) allowed nine hits and one walk while facing just 16 hitters over 2 2/3 innings as the Cardinals lost 10-3. The Cardinals saw their lead in the National League Central reduced to 3 1/2 games.
--1B Albert Pujols' hitting streak was snapped at seven games, thanks to RF Ryan Freel's diving catch of his drive to right-center and the two walks Reds pitchers issued him. He finished 0-for-2 Tuesday.
--C Yadier Molina gradually is coming out of his season-long funk. Molina doubled in a run Tuesday after driving in four with a homer and a double Monday.
--In losing to LHP Eric Milton, the Cardinals dropped to 17-26 in games started by left-handers.
--2B Ronnie Belliard hit safely for the fourth consecutive game although he has just five hits in 18 at-bats over that span.