To start the home first, the Rockies loaded the bases with one out. A double play grounder was missed when second baseman Adam Kennedy's relay throw was high, pulling Albert Pujols off the bag. The first run scored as a result. The Cardinals argued, but replays supported the umpires' call.
Aaron Miles spoiled Lopez' perfect game in the fourth when his shot to center was just missed on a diving attempt at a catch. After the double, Miles moved to third and scored on a pair of sacrifices, the latter by Pujols. This tied the game.
In the home fourth, the wheels came off for the pitcher and his catcher. Looper walked the first two and with a full count on the third batter, Molina took a foul off the wrist on his glove hand and had to leave the contest. He had been injured earlier in the game, but remained in at that time. Jose Oquendo donned a mask to try to keep Looper warm while Gary Bennett suited up, but Looper's first real pitch upon resuming was another ball four. The next batter, number eight hitter Yorvit Torrealba, hit a grand slam to dead center. The pitcher Lopez singled next, but was erased in a double play. Kaz Matsui then tripled, but was stranded.
Ryan Spilborghs' RBI double in the sixth restored the lead to four runs. That also ended Looper's night. Six runs on seven hits and five ugly walks in 5 2/3 innings did him in.
The first hitter of the seventh, Jim Edmonds, also blasted a solo shot like Rolen. That knocked Lopez out of the game. It didn't hurt their offense, as the Rox tacked on a pair more against Tyler Johnson in the home half of the inning. Brad Hawpe's two-run home run was the big blow, making the final score 8-3.
- In his first-ever MLB start, Todd Wellemeyer (0-0, 2.70 as a Card) faces former Houston Astro Jason Hirsh (2-4, 4.30) on Wednesday night as the 20-29 Cards try to halt the Rockies' seven-game winning streak and right their own three-game skid.
- Chris Duncan was out of the line up due to bursitis in his knee. With David Eckstein's back problems, Molina's in-game wrist injury and Scott Spiezio having to leave due to nausea, the bench was entirely depleted other than Ryan Ludwick.
- How bad is it? Coming into Tuesday, five of the six NL Central squads were below .500, with the one above .500 team, Milwaukee, in the midst of a six-game losing streak. Overall, the division is 132-148 (.471) on the season, which would make them in aggregate worse than any MLB team other than Washington (.412), Kansas City (.365) and Texas (.353).
- Including Tuesday, nine of Looper's 11 starts this season have followed Cardinals losses and he had generally responded well. Looper helped the Cardinals to wins in seven of the starts (7-4) while posting a 6-4 record in the situation during his first year as a starter.
- Albert Pujols' hit streak ended at 11 games Monday. He batted .489 (22-for-45) during the run with two home runs and five RBI, lifting his batting average up from .239 to a season-high .302 after Sunday's game. It was the first time Pujols had been above .300 this season.
- Even with two home runs Tuesday, the Cardinals' 14 home runs in May are fewest in the Majors with the next-closest team at 15 (LA Dodgers). Five of the team's total have been hit by Chris Duncan.
- Scott Rolen leads all MLB third basemen with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage - 112 total chances without an error coming into Tuesday. Rolen now has a 46-game errorless streak going back to last season, which is the longest active run by any MLB third baseman.
- Before you celebrate, also be aware that in those 46 contests, Rolen's batting line is a feeble .244/.339/.369 (average/on-base/slugging). One message board poster likened the performance to another famous all-field, no-hit former Cardinal who also wore number 27, Dal Maxvill. That's not quite true, but I am sure you get the point. Rolen started an answer with his solo home run and two singles for three of the Cardinals' seven hits on Tuesday.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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