Manager Tony La Russa said, "It's been unfair here, once we got to the last month. We're kind of limping to the finish line. It kind of makes you angry. No, it does make you angry."
The Cardinals still are mathematically alive for a wild-card berth but just barely. With seven games to play, they trail New York, the wild-card leader, by six games.
CUBS 5, CARDINALS 1: The Cardinals lost to a lineup composed entirely of Chicago reserves in their final road game of the season. RHP Braden Looper won't have a winning season. He is 12-14 with one start left. He pitched reasonably well but gave up four runs in six innings. The Cardinals scored only in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by 1B Albert Pujols.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
--1B Albert Pujols has lost almost all shot at his second batting title. He went 1-for-10 in the three-game series against the Cubs as his average fell to .349. Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones leads the NL at .362.
--OF Skip Schumaker, whose average had dipped to .301, gave himself some breathing room to remain at .300. He collected three hits in four at-bats to boost his average to .304.
--RHP Kyle McClellan, who hit the wall late in his rookie season, was scored on for the eighth time in his last 11 appearances when he permitted a seventh-inning run.
--The Cardinals will finish the season at home and can be spoilers in a four-game set with Arizona, which has blown a big lead in the National League West.
--RHP Braden Looper suffered his fourth straight loss after being 12-10. Looper can be a free agent after the season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 40 -- Number of times the Cardinals scored two or fewer runs in their first 153 games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have to define exactly where the young guys are in their development and what kind of part they'll play next year." -- Pitching coach Dave Duncan, on the offseason meetings to discuss the futures of young relievers Chris Perez, Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan