The Cardinals hadn't had two straight games of four errors or more since 1962, and right-handed pitcher Kip Wells wasn't good enough to pitch around them, giving up five extra-base hits -- four doubles and a triple -- in four innings. At 14 losses, he is tied for the league lead. "We played terribly," said manager Tony La Russa. "We're better than that.
"We had a bad defensive night and we have a good defensive team. That's my comment.
"You can analyze that however you want to, but that's what I believe."
After drawing to one game under .500, the Cardinals have slipped to three under and four games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs.
This marked the fifth time this year the Cardinals had four errors in a game. That's the most since the 1974 team had eight four-error games.
BRAVES 7, CARDINALS 2: The Cardinals had been one of the few teams to have an edge over Atlanta's John Smoltz (10-11 in his career against the Cardinals), but Smoltz caught up to them on Friday, blanking them for innings four through eight after Chris Duncan had doubled home the Cardinals' only two runs in the third. Kip Wells suffered his 14th loss in 20 decisions.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Brad Thompson, who has given up 20 homers in 110 innings as both a starter and reliever this season, was optioned to Class AAA Memphis and RHP Todd Wellemeyer, who had been on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow, was activated after just one rehabilitation assignment at Class AA Springfield. Wellemeyer pitched a scoreless fifth on Friday.
Thompson no doubt will be recalled after Memphis' season ends on Sept. 3.
--INF Aaron Miles returned after going to California for the birth of his second child. Rookie Brendan Ryan started at second base Friday, but manager Tony La Russa said the switch-hitting Miles would play against Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson on Saturday night. Miles stayed in Friday's game after pinch-hitting in the fifth inning and singled in two at-bats.
--LF Chris Duncan had knocked in just one run since July 26 before he doubled home two on Friday.
--3B Scott Rolen's two-error game was the sixth of his career.
--Despite losing their last two games, the Cardinals still have won 10 of their last 14 home games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of home runs Jim Edmonds has off left-handed pitchers, but his second won a game, 6-4, against Florida.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's just being Albert." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on 1B Albert Pujols' five homers in five games.