The Cardinals can't afford many missteps on this seven-game homestand against the two National League Central Division teams they are chasing, Chicago and Milwaukee. As manager Tony La Russa said beforehand, "Whoever we play, we can't afford to have a bad week. In the position, we can't waste a week."
Third baseman Scott Rolen and first baseman Albert Pujols, two of the Cardinals' staples, both had bad nights. With the score tied 2-2 and two outs in the Chicago seventh, Rolen booted a grounder. "Surest hands in baseball," La Russa said.
"What you saw was what I thought was the best way to go," La Russa said.
"In the big picture," said Rolen, blaming himself, "you can't afford to give away any games."
Pujols went 0-for-5, including making the last out of the game as the potential winning run, failing to drive in a runner from third with one out in the fifth when the Cardinals had a chance to take a two-run lead, and stranding two runners in the seventh.
"There's no justice in him being the losing pitcher," La Russa said.
CUBS 4, CARDINALS 3: The Cardinals put all their of left-handed batters into the lineup Tuesday against Chicago right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who had held right-handed batters to a .163 average. Skip Schumaker, one of those left-handed batters, tripled in the two runs the Cardinals scored off Zambrano. The Cardinals were only 2-for-9 with men in scoring position, compared to 4-for-9 for the Cubs, who scored all of their runs with two outs.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Chris Carpenter underwent what was described as successful ulnar collateral ligament reconstructive surgery Tuesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. George Paletta in St. Louis. Carpenter, who has been out since the first game of the season, won't pitch again until sometime next season.
--LHP Mark Mulder, who has been out since last September after having shoulder surgery, threw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game and appears to be getting close to going out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. "He's making progress every time he goes out there," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's exciting."
--RF Skip Schumaker is hitting .500 (18-for-36) this month and meriting more starting assignments.
--The Cardinals have lost all three of their meetings with the Cubs in St. Louis this season. --RHP Kip Wells has allowed only two earned runs in his last 14 2/3 innings, although he is just 1-1 in that time.