Manager Tony La Russa admitted he was perplexed by his right-hander, who is 6-6 in 23 starts.
"You watch him make a pitch or two and you get excited with what he's doing that night and then he'll throw the ball down the middle and get hit," said La Russa. "He was inconsistent to a fault.
"It's just not good enough. This has been his pattern."
The Cardinals fell another half game off the wild-card pace, trailing Milwaukee by five games and both Philadelphia and Houston by two.
All those other teams were rained out.
PIRATES 10, CARDINALS 2: Losing for the ninth in their last 13 games, the Cardinals never were in this one Friday. They dipped to just nine games over .500 with 15 to play and would have to win 12 of those games to make it to 90 victories for the season. That would seem to be the number to have a chance at a playoff spot.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
--OF Rick Ankiel saw a specialist in Philadelphia and received an injection for what was described as a strained abdominal muscle/sports hernia. Ankiel, who has been hampered for seven weeks, probably will elect to have surgery, much as OF Chris Duncan had to do last year.
--RHP Chris Carpenter was found in some diagnostic testing to have a right shoulder strain and some nerve irritation in his shoulder. He already had been declared out for the season. While the clubs says he should be fine to resume his career as a starter next spring, Carpenter, who basically has missed two seasons, said, "It's frustrating; it's disappointing; it's both of those.
"That's as far as I'm going to go with it. There's some things up in the air right now. It's frustrating."
--RHP Jason Isringhausen, also already out for the season, had elbow flexor tendon surgery in St. Louis.
--Pittsburgh holds an 8-7 season series edge against the Cardinals with two games left.
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Number of consecutive seasons at the start of his career that 1B Albert Pujols has hit at least .300 with 30 homers and 100 runs batted in.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You don't expect a pitcher to do that. From now on, I will." -- C Yadier Molina, admitting he was surprised when Chicago LHP Ted Lilly plowed into him at the plate Wednesday and knocked Molina out of action for several days.