The Redbird Report 05/28

A 4-2 home stand normally would be a good thing, but manager Tony La Russa wasn't at all happy Sunday. After the Cardinals had swept Pittsburgh in three games, La Russa was hoping for more on the lines of 5-1 or even 6-0.

But a generally punchless offense and some bad eighth-inning relief did in the Cardinals on Sunday in a 7-2 loss to Washington as the Cardinals won just one of three games in the series.

"It wasn't a good offensive day," said La Russa, who lamented that Adam Wainwright, strong before and after a 61-minute rain delay, was a losing pitcher instead of a winning one.

Wainwright, who worked seven innings, tying a season high he set in his first start of the year, was touched for only Ronnie Belliard's two-run homer in the fifth inning. Former Cardinal Belliard tormented his 2006 World Series mates with four hits.

Randy Flores, who has been scored on in six of his last 15 outings, surrendered a grand slam to .150-hitting Ryan Langerhans in the eighth after walking two hitters and throwing a wild pitch.

NATIONALS 7, CARDINALS 2: Albert Pujols had three hits and Scott Spiezio homered, but the Cardinals' offense did little else with rookie Matt Chico and four Washington successors. The Cardinals, 5-15 against teams outside their division, hadn't lost a series to Washington/Montreal in St. Louis in nearly five years.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--With the addition of RHP Todd Wellemeyer to the rotation, the Cardinals have four starters who did not start a game in the majors last season and RHP Kip Wells, who was hurt much of the season, made only nine starts.

--3B Scott Rolen and CF Jim Edmonds, who have had the majority of the cleanup assignments through the first quarter of the season, have been dropped to fifth and sixth, respectively, where both have started coming alive. Rolen went seven for 18 with four RBIs in a six-game stretch and Edmonds cracked two homers in three games while going four for 11. But Rolen had to come out of Sunday's game with was believed to be a mild concussion after a collision with Washington 1B Dmitri Young.

--RHP Jason Isringhausen had to wait one hour and 41 minutes before wrapping up his 13th save on Saturday night. After entering the game with Washington, Isringhausen allowed a run-scoring single before rain halted matters with two out in the ninth. Upon resumption, it took Isringhausen four minutes to dispose of Nationals C Jesus Flores.

--SS David Eckstein, riding a five-game hitting streak in which he had been nine for 22, was a late scratch Sunday because of lower back stiffness he encountered on Saturday.

--1B Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a fourth-inning infield single. He is 22-for-45 (.489) in that stretch.


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