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Cardinals fall apart in ninth, lose to Mets 8-6

Sep 22, 2011, 7:30 PM EST

Lance Berkman AP

New Cardinals closer Jason Motte picked a bad time to suddenly lose it.

Up 6-1 after seven against the Mets, the Cards allowed one in the eighth and six in the ninth to lose 8-6 on Thursday.

A win would have left the Cardinals one game back of the idle Braves with both teams having six games left.  Now they’re two back as they begin a series against the Cubs on Friday.

The Cardinals got homers from Allen Craig and Albert Pujols in building their lead.  Jake Westbrook allowed just one run and three hits in six innings, but he was pulled for a pinch-hitter after a mere 84 pitches.

Things still looked good initially from there.  Arthur Rhodes worked a flawless seventh, and Octavio Dotel allowed an unearned run in the eighht, making it 6-2.  The Cards turned to their closer then, but Motte walked three of the five hitters he faced and had another reach on a Rafael Furcal error.  Marc Rzepczynski took over with the score 6-3 and the bases loaded and gave up an RBI single to Jose Reyes.

Fernando Salas was next in.  He gave up a two-run double to Ruben Tejada, tying the game with still just one out in the inning.  Left fielder Shane Robinson almost made what would have been an outstanding leaping grab on the play, but he came up a little short.  After an intentional walk to Angel Pagan reloaded the bases, Salas was able to strike out David Wright.  However, Willie Harris followed with a line drive single to right, plating two more runs.  After, Nick Evans flied out to end the inning, the Cards went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

The Cardinals are going to need some real help from the Nationals and Phillies now if they hope to catch the Braves.  They do get to face the Cubs and Astros in their last two series, so a 5-1 or even a 6-0 finish can’t be ruled out.  Atlanta is in the driver’s seat, though.

  1. cur68 - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Jeez. All that managing and they still lost, eh?

  2. cshearing - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I could not believe the swaths of empty seats in the bottom of the ninth. Your team is down by two, fighting for their playoff lives, and you leave?

    • hackerjay - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      Hey, those are the “best fans in baseball”© you’re talking about…you should show some respect!

    • bravesman1983 - Sep 22, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      In the Cardinals fans’ defense — and you won’t hear me defending them too often — the game ended something like six hours after it was supposed to have begun. I’d imagine a lot of folks simply don’t have that kind of spare time, especially on a weekday.

      I’ll use myself as an example. I live 1 1/2 hours away from Busch Stadium, probably more like two with some traffic figured in. St. Louis is easily the major league city closest to my home. Still, if my wife and I ended up hanging around for an entire six hours at the stadium coupled with the drive time there and back, that’s 10 hours. That’s a long day for us, and St. Louis definitely has that kind of spread-out fan base that likely sees a lot of people making similar trips to see games on a daily basis.

      • cshearing - Sep 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM

        I can see the point, but I guess I still have the “romantic” notion that fans sacrifice for their team. I cannot imagine leaving such an important game. But I am a remote fan; I live no where near my team, having only seen them live twice. Maybe that’s changing my perspective.

    • paperlions - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:57 AM

      A weekday game with a rain delay over 2 hrs, I haven’t seen any fanbase that still fills the seats after that.

  3. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    is that hope?

  4. okwhitefalcon - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Furcal’s game extending error was an absolute killer, well that a plethora of relievers throwing gas on the fire..

    • cup0pizza - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      Furcal strikes again. Ouch.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Yep. What is that…5 errors in the last 6 games?

      • okwhitefalcon - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        Something like that, just terrible.

  5. bensdad00 - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    3 pitchers in the ninth, 4 pinch hitters, a pinch runner and three defensive replacements…no, no over-managing there.

  6. proudlycanadian - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    A motte is a mound, so it is appropriate that this guy is a pitcher. In Victorian times, motte had a slang meaning that I will leave to your imagination.

    • jwbiii - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:35 PM

      So Merkin Valdez as a set-up man?

  7. paperlions - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    Pleolarussasm at it’s best….bottom of the 9th should have never happened, but it should have been Berkman, Freese, and Molina coming up instead of Punto, Descalso, and Molina….yeah, just a small difference there.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

      I am with you Paper. I could NOT even guess how many times this year Lance, Freese or JJ’s spot in the lineup has come up in the (8th or 9th) and they are picking splinters out of their ass due to a genius “defensive replacement” move on TLR’s part. I like the guy…and I am happy he is the Manager. But he simply “thinks” to damn much. If I ever see the Man on the street we will make headlines cause’ his skin is far too thin to let me dress him down for it. That is why he and Knight are so tight. They are so much alike it is almost scary. You second guess him and he digs the heels in…pushed his chest out…and tries to make you feel like an idiot for questioning him. A huge part of that is the lawyer in him. But he drives me nuts!

  8. foreverchipper10 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    :)

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