The Redbird Report 07/18

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Brad Thompson throws in the first inning of Tuesday night's 4-0 loss to the Florida Marlins.

The Cardinals don't have much room for error with their marginal starting pitching and sometimes homer-happy attack. And when they let scoring chances get away in the second and third innings Tuesday night, they almost were doomed to failure.

In the second, after Juan Encarnacion had drawn a one-out walk, he was tagged out -- standing up -- as he tried to steal second. Two hits and an error followed, but no runs.

"(Encarnacion) heard a foul tip," manager Tony La Russa said.

In the third, with runners at second and third and no outs, Albert Pujols lined a shot to Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who dropped the ball but threw Pujols out at first. After Chris Duncan was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, Scott Rolen fanned and then Encarnacion flied to right. Rolen struck out three times for the night

Right-hander Brad Thompson pitched a respectable six innings, allowing three runs, but he gave up his staff-high 15th homer this season, a two-run shot to Ramirez in the fifth inning.

"I was one pitch away from being a good pitcher -- that's all there is to it," said Thompson, who said he missed his location with a sinker to Ramirez.

"He pitched all right," La Russa said, "but we just didn't support him offensively."

MARLINS 4, CARDINALS 0: The Cardinals failed in their attempt to put together a three-game winning streak for the first time since June 3-6. Again they had trouble against a starting pitcher they hadn't seen, failing to break through on right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk in the first five innings. They had five hits in that span but also struck out six times. Six Marlin pitchers held the Cardinals to seven hits overall.


--LHP Mark Mulder, recovering from shoulder surgery performed last September, threw on the side Monday and Tuesday. While he is throwing only fastballs, he feels progress is being made. "I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

--3B Scott Rolen started three double plays, the last after a sprawling stop to his right, in the first three innings Tuesday.

--C Yadier Molina, who often doesn't need a pitchout, capitalized on one in the seventh inning to throw out Florida CF Alfredo Amezaga. Molina has nabbed 10 of 20 runners.

--CF Jim Edmonds, who has had a pinched nerve in his lower back, is likely to be activated Thursday at Atlanta to face RHP Tim Hudson. Manager Tony La Russa said, however, that Edmonds had to produce, rather than just be ready to play.

--The Cardinals stranded 10 runners Tuesday as they were blanked for the ninth time, one more shutout than they endured all of last year.

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