It was quite another to be bamboozled for seven innings by Colorado lefty Jeff Francis, against whom they have batted just .178 in his career. So Taguchi finally solved Francis for a two-run homer in the eighth, but a lineup without five regulars in it was almost helpless Monday in a 6-2 loss.
The defeat dropped the Cardinals to 6-11 in games started by lefthanders. And Kip Wells took over the National League lead in losses at nine, breaking a tie with Anthony Reyes, who was sent to the minors by the Cardinals on Sunday.
"He made too many mistakes and we had too little offense," said manager Tony La Russa. "Our offense doesn't allow him to make many mistakes."
Wells still can't solve Colorado left fielder Matt Holliday, not that many of the Cardinals' pitchers have. Holliday, a .429 career hitter against St. Louis in his career, was 7-for-10 against Wells before Monday and connected for an opposite-field homer in the first to put the Rockies ahead for good.
The Cardinals are eight games under .500 at 20-28. Their season low was nine at 16-25. Monday marked the 20th time in 48 games the Cardinals have scored fewer than three runs. They are 1-19 in those games.
ROCKIES 6, CARDINALS 2: Kip Wells was reasonably effective Monday but gave up three runs in the seventh, including a two-run homer by Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe. The Cardinals had just three harmless singles until the eighth. Then Aaron Miles singled and So Taguchi homered, but it was far too little, too late.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
--3B Scott Rolen missed Monday's game with a mild concussion after a collision with Washington 1B Dmitri Young on Sunday. SS David Eckstein was out for a second straight game with a lower back problem. Both may play Tuesday night.
--2B Adam Kennedy singled in his first at-bat for only his third hit in 25 at-bats against lefth-anded pitching.
--CF So Taguchi hit his first homer of the season, one day after INF/OF Scott Spiezio hit his first. Taguchi and SS Aaron Miles combined for four of the Cardinals' five hits.
--LF Ryan Ludwick might not be long for the club. He fanned three more times Monday and is striking out at a clip of once every three at-bats. The right-handed batter is only 2-for-21 against left-handed pitching.
--LHP Troy Cate, a rookie working for the second day in a row, pitched a perfect eighth inning. Cate has retired all seven of the hitters he's faced.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of times the Cardinals scored in the first inning in their first 45 games. In that time, they were outscored, 33-7.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We need to play every series like it's the last series of the season, because we're under .500." -- Manager Tony La Russa.