The Redbird Report 09/10

Sunday the Cardinals blew a lead for the third time in three games, losing all three games to the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend. Kip Wells who had been banished to the bullpen, pitched four solid innings in relief Sunday.

After working virtually all season to become a winning team, the Cardinals no longer are one after being swept in a weekend series in Arizona.

Right-hander Kip Wells, banished to the bullpen following a rash of poor starts, gave the Cardinals four flawless innings of relief but was pulled after giving up a leadoff double to Arizona catcher Chris Snyder in the seventh inning with the Cardinals ahead 4-2.

The move didn't raise too many eyebrows because manager Tony La Russa went to his nearly flawless setup man, Ryan Franklin. But Franklin was flawed on this day. He gave up a game-tying home run to rookie Justin Upton and later in the inning a two-run double to Tony Clark.

A walk to pinch-hitter David Eckstein with the bases loaded got the Cardinals a run in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Yadier Molina, the Cardinals' last position player, flied out to end the game.

The Cardinals just weren't good enough in this series, losing the three games by a total of four runs and sinking three games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.

The Cardinals also dropped back to two games under .500 with four games remaining on this trip -- one in Chicago on Monday and three in Cincinnati.

DIAMONDBACKS 6, CARDINALS 5: The Cardinals blew a lead for the third time in three games -- losing all three. RHP Ryan Franklin allowed three hits in the seventh inning, including a game-tying homer by RF Justin Upton. 2B Miguel Cairo's two-run triple keyed a four-run third inning, but the Cardinals then left six runners in scoring position. "We had a chance to add on in the third and fourth. We didn't and it burned us," said manager Tony La Russa.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--LF Chris Duncan might miss the rest of the trip (four games) because of an aggravation of a sports hernia. He struck out as a pinch hitter Sunday and appeared in discomfort on at least one swing.

--C Yadier Molina didn't start for a second consecutive day after suffering some concussion symptoms when he was hit in the mask by a foul ball on Friday. He will try to play Monday.

--RHP Joel Pineiro, who gave up three runs in five innings but won 6-4 at Chicago on Aug. 20, will pitch a makeup game at Wrigley Field on Monday afternoon. The Cubs and Cardinals then will play four games at St. Louis next weekend.

--RHP Braden Looper's outing of 3 1/3 innings Saturday at Arizona was his second shortest in his first season as a starter. Looper lasted only 2 2/3 innings on July 21 at Atlanta.

--C Gary Bennett had been unusable lately because of a bulging disk in his back, which required a shot. Kelly Stinnett, who ostensibly has been out of baseball twice this season, is the Cardinals' only healthy catcher. He caught nine innings Saturday and seven more Sunday before Bennett came in to catch the eighth.

--RF Rick Ankiel went 1 for 10 in the three games at Arizona after the New York Daily News reported that he had received shipments of human growth hormone in 2004. Ankiel had been hitting .358 with nine homers and 29 RBI in 23 games since being brought up from Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 9.


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