Isringhausen, who has a career total of 293 saves but blew seven of 19 tries this year, may well have been pitching with the ailment when he appeared only twice in the last two weeks. The Cardinals' all-time save leader with 217, Isringhausen hadn't complained about any discomfort.
Manager Tony La Russa said, "He's done it to us several times. ... You can't stress enough that the hero stuff sometimes works in the world, but it doesn't work here.
"I didn't get a real good, accurate (read) when he started feeling this. I don't know."
What La Russa did know Tuesday was that his offense was inefficient against Ian Snell, a four-game winner previously.
"I thought he pitched well," La Russa said, "but we didn't have a good offensive day. Part of it was him, but part of it was us."
Braden Looper, who has given up only nine earned runs in his last six starts, suffered a tough loss.
With the Cardinals down only 1-0, three misplays by normally solid catcher Yadier Molina helped the Pirates to three runs in the ninth. Molina threw late to third on a sacrifice bunt attempt, dropped a ball on what would have been a forceout at the plate and allowed another throw from the outfield to get by him.
"That was really freaky, strange stuff," La Russa said. "But the game got away from us when were going into the ninth inning down 1-0. Offensively, our at-bats against Snell could have been better."
PIRATES 4, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals lost for the eighth time in their last 11 home games and fell to 7-7 at Busch Stadium since the All-Star break. Their only run came in the ninth on a pinch single by Adam Kennedy.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
--RHP Chris Carpenter, on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, made between 45 and 50 tosses on flat ground before the game. "I felt good," he said. "We're going to try to put some more effort into it (Wednesday) and move on.
"I don't have any issues. Now, it's just matter of throwing and seeing what happens."
--RHP Adam Wainwright's status is in limbo. Wainwright, who has had two minor league rehab outings after being shelved with a sprained right middle finger, hopes to rejoin the rotation, but manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have pondered bringing him back in the bullpen if Carpenter is ready to start.
La Russa and Wainwright met in the manager's office Tuesday night no doubt to discuss the club's preference and Wainwright's. Wainwright, who may be activated Wednesday to replaced injured RHP Jason Isringhausen on the roster, made it clear to La Russa that he wanted to start.
--Tuesday's game was just the fifth homerless game at Busch Stadium this season.
--RHP Braden Looper is 2-3 over his last six starts although he has permitted only nine earned runs in 40 innings (2.03 ERA).
--INF Felipe Lopez, signed after Washington let him some two weeks ago, made his ninth start in the 12 games he's played. Operating at second base, Lopez had a single in four at-bats and stole a base. He is 12-for-38 (.316) since joining St. Louis.
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Players, including OF Ryan Ludwick, who have hit 30 or more homers in a season for the Cardinals.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We want to get him right. You don't want to rush something and have him have a problem again." -- Pitching coach Dave Duncan, on the Cardinals' decision to put RHP Chris Carpenter back on the disabled list, this time with a shoulder strain.