It was reaffirmed to the Cardinals this week what the rest of the National League has known for more than two seasons now. They aren't as good as the Phillies, the two-time league champions gunning to be the first team to win three NL titles in a row since the 1942-44 Cardinals.
After taking the first game of the
This year, it's all about the Phillies' pitching. Right-hander Roy Halladay, when pressed to make a pitch, made one Thursday, notably to Matt Holliday. Halladay retired him on a groundout with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and fanned him with two on and two outs in the fifth.
Holliday is a disappointing 5-for-37 with men in scoring position this season. But he wasn't the only one having problems Thursday. The Cardinals were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Right-hander Kyle Lohse, who was 3-0 in April last year, is 3-12 since then. He labored through 105 pitches in four innings Thursday.
"We'll see them later at our place," Lohse said. "It's too early to really gauge anything."
PHILLIES 7, CARDINALS 2: With Thursday's defeat, their third in a row, the Cardinals have scored two runs or fewer in nine of their 11 losses, and one run or none in seven of those games. RHP Kyle Lohse had some sloppy defense behind him, but he didn't make enough good pitches while throwing 105 in four innings. "If you throw 100 pitches in four innings, it's going to be a short outing," Lohse said.
--RHP Kyle Lohse, who hadn't given up a home run in his first five starts, allowed a three-run, opposite-field shot to Phillies RF Jayson Werth in the first inning Thursday. "They take advantage of the park," Lohse said. "The pitch to Werth was off the plate and away. I thought it was going to be caught, but it just kept going. It was a good pitch, but he hit it out."
--Lohse lasted just four innings, ending a streak of 14 consecutive games in which the Cardinals rotation registered quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs). That was the club's longest stretch of starting efficiency since 1973.
--LF Matt Holliday stranded six runners in three fruitless at-bats with men in scoring position. His only hit, a single, came when he led off the fourth inning. Holliday has knocked in only three runs since April 11.
--3B David Freese, who appeared to have a triple when RF Jayson Werth lost his second-inning drive in the sun, was denied that hit, ending his hitting streak at nine games, when the call was changed to a three-base error on Werth a half-hour after the game. The Cardinals filed a formal appeal with the commissioner's office.
--INF Aaron Miles, a former Cardinals staple who was signed to a minor league contract last week, was 7-for-16 in extended spring training games at Jupiter, Fla., the Cardinals' spring training site. Miles ultimately will report to Class AAA Memphis.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Home runs allowed by the Cardinals in their first 13 games at home, through May 2.
--INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26. As of May 3, he hadn't resumed swinging a bat.