Right-handed reliever Chris Perez blew his second save in two games when he allowed a game-tying homer in the ninth Friday to Florida first baseman Mike Jacobs, canceling a brilliant 7 1/3 inning scoreless outing by right-hander Braden Looper.
That was the Cardinals' 30th blown save -- they have saved just 37 -- and in the 11th inning, helped by three defensive misplays, right-handed reliever Ryan Franklin suffered the club's 30th bullpen loss of the season.
The Cardinals have dropped six of their last seven games and rookie Perez feels he is largely responsible for the last two.
"I'll be able to flush it," said Perez. "It was a tough one, obviously. We're trying to stay in this thing and the last two times I've gone out there we've had the lead. When I've left, we haven't.
"It's part of the game. Part of a closer is coming back and hopefully, (Saturday) night, I'll get my name called again."
The Cardinals dipped to nine games over .500 for the first time since July 27 and dropped six games off the wild-card pace set by Milwaukee with only 21 games remaining.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Adam Wainright will be jumped ahead of RHP Joel Pineiro to pitch the series finale on Sunday. Pineiro, who will have made just one start in 26 days, will be pushed back to open a series next weekend in Pittsburgh.
--LHP Jaime Garcia will have ligament replacement surgery on Monday and RHP Jason Isringhausen will have elbow surgery to deal with a tendon issue on Friday. The veteran Isringhausen probably has pitched his last game for the Cardinals and Garcia likely will miss much of next season.
--OF Joe Mather had successful surgery on Thursday in Phoenix to remove a cracked bone from his left hand.
--RHP Braden Looper has thrown seven or more innings in seven of his last eight outings. He has won only three of those games, however.
BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- Rick Ankiel has joined Babe Ruth as the only players to have made 25 or more starts in one season and hit 25 or more homers in another.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I would think the idea this winter is to make some significant additions so we can be there." -- Manager Tony La Russa, on his hope that the club will better be able to challenge for a championship next season.