The Redbird Report - 05/02

Before Tuesday night, right-hander Braden Looper had a 3-1 mark and the rest of the Cardinals' rotation was 2-12. On Tuesday at Milwaukee, even Looper, the converted reliever, fell into the abyss that has trapped the Cardinals.

Looper survived six hits through four scoreless innings, but the Brewers peppered him and two successors for nine hits and 11 runs in the next two innings.

The Cardinals' 12-2 loss was their third straight defeat by six runs or more. They have scored three or fewer runs in 18 of 25 games this year and have earned their last-place station in the National League Central, regardless of the aftereffects of the death of reliever Josh Hancock early Sunday.

"How different is this from the way we've been playing?" said manager Tony La Russa, refusing to blame the team's grief. "Not nearly good enough. And we're all involved.

"We're not making it a very good competition. Including the guy you're talking to (himself)."

Looper, who had considerable difficulty handling left-handed batters last year, had held them to a .184 mark before Tuesday. But, while he retired Prince Fielder twice, Geoff Jenkins had three of his four hits against Looper.

The Cardinals surrendered 16 hits to Milwaukee and even lost to Ben Sheets. They had been 14-4 against Sheets for his career.

"I believe in this club ... but we've got to acknowledge we've got problems," La Russa said.

BREWERS 12, CARDINALS 2: Braden Looper was roughed up for 11 hits in five-plus innings, and Milwaukee rolled to a win at Miller Park. After falling behind 2-0, the Brewers poured it on against Looper, Randy Flores, Brad Thompson and Dennis Dove.


--RHP Chris Carpenter, out since the first game of the season with elbow problems, threw a simulated game Tuesday and said, "It went well. My arm strength was there, and hopefully my arm will feel good tomorrow."

--LF Chris Duncan cracked his fifth homer of the season for one of the two Cardinals runs. RHP Braden Looper, the losing pitcher, drove in the other with his second hit of the season.

--SS David Eckstein, hitting just .226 with an on-base percentage under .300, was dropped from the leadoff spot for the first time in his three seasons with the team and batted eighth.

Eckstein had a hit and a walk batting down in the order, while RF Skip Schumaker had only a walk in five plate appearances as the No. 1 hitter.

--1B Albert Pujols quietly extended his hitting streak to 10 games with two singles. Pujols is 14-for-38 over that span.

--3B Scott Rolen, after getting to .290, has gone 0-for-11 and is below .250.

--CF Jim Edmonds is 0 for his last 9 and has failed to get the ball out of the infield in any of those at-bats.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of games the Cardinals won in April when they allowed more than three runs.

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