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Cardinals can’t capitalize after Braves lose

Sep 26, 2011, 11:48 PM EDT

Chipper Jones, Shane Victorino AP

Facing opponents simply playing out the string, just one of the top four wild card contenders — the Tampa Bay Rays — could muster a victory on Monday night.  In the NL, the Braves lost 4-2 to Cliff Lee and the Phillies, and the Cardinals followed with a 5-4 loss to the Astros in 10 innings.

The Braves remained one game up with two left to play.

Atlanta’s loss was less surprising, though the Braves did manage to score twice off Lee early.  Chipper Jones homered in the first, and Alex Gonzalez doubled in Matt Diaz in the second.

“Everybody was swinging free and easy. We were ready to play,” Jones said. “After the first two innings, I would’ve given us a 99.9 percent chance to win the game.”

Too bad that proved to be it for the Braves offense. 21-year-old Randall Delgado gave back the lead, surrendering two runs in five innings, and the bullpen stumbled from there.  Raul Ibanez knocked in Shane Victorino in both the sixth and eighth innings with singles.

Philadelphia’s second win in a row after eight losses made the Phillies 100-60 for the season.  It’s the third time in franchise history that it’s reached the century mark. Lee was expected to throw about 70 pitches, but manager Charlie Manuel let him throw 92 and complete six innings for his 17th victory.

St. Louis had a more favorable matchup against the team with the game’s worst record.  However, Jaime Garcia struggled, yielding four runs in four innings.  The Cardinals rallied from 4-2 down in the eighth, with Lance Berkman delivering a game-tying two-run double, but they failed to plate the go-ahead run from second with none out or from third with one out.

After leaving more men on base the next two innings, the Cards lost it in the bottom of the 10th.  Octavio Dotel, who was perfect in the ninth, gave up a leadoff double to Brian Bogusevic and then committed an error on Jason Bourgeois‘ sacrifice attempt.  A squeeze bunt followed, with Angel Sanchez driving in the winning run.  Dotel had a chance on that one too, but he failed on an attempt to flip the ball to catcher Yadier Molina with his glove.

Mark Melancon pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win for Houston.  Matt Downs had a two-run homer.

  1. channingtaintum - Sep 26, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Hey Craig, you can untie the noose, and step off the chair.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:24 AM

      have another bourbon

  2. dailyrev - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Molina lost them that game with this egomaniacal, disgusting demonstration in the top of the 10th. He hit a high, long fly to deep left with 1 out and WALKED toward 1b. Ball hits off the wall and gets past the LFer and bounces at least 30 yards away toward the infield. If Yadi had been even trotting on that play from the plate, he’s standing on 3rd with a one out triple. Instead, he’s held to a double and guess what, he gets thrown out at 3rd on the next pitch, a comebacker to the pitcher.

    So in the biggest game of the season for his team, knowing that ATL had already lost, Yadi (a) hot dogs it to 1b; and (b) runs from 2nd on a comebacker to the friggin’ pitcher. I was watching for dugout shots to see if anyone got in his face later (Tony? Albert?), but they didn’t show any. Absolutely inexcusable, pathetic. The Cardinals deserve to be spectators to this offseason.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:04 AM

      TOOTBLAN.

      .
      It’s an epidemic !

      • cur68 - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:23 AM

        DANG! I wanted to say that!

    • paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:40 AM

      I agree that Molina should have been on 3rd, but he had plenty of help losing this game especially from Furcal, Freese, and Berkman….each of whom obviously quit on the team during the game.

      • dailyrev - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:47 AM

        Let’s say you’re the Best Player of the Generation (at least) and you’ll soon be a FA: what message does this behavior send, that core players on your current team are mailing it in during the most critical game of said team’s season? What do you conclude as the suitors line up with their bank vaults wide open?

      • paperlions - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:02 AM

        Dude. Sarcasm. Those guys didn’t mail it in. Their ego-maniacal manager took them out of the game for far lesser players (as he often does) compromising the ability of the team to win games. Having your best players play as much as possible is ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA. Taking many of your best players out in the 7th of a must win game for guys that spent all year in AAA is ALWAYS A BAD IDEA.

        What Molina did was stupid, I agree, you could tell he was caught up in the moment and trying to figure out if it was going to be caught or a HR instead of running. Saying that this single action should relegate the Cardinals to post-season spectators is just stupid.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM

      That game was pathetic all around. From Tony’s ridiculous and constant use of the sacrifice bunt with non-pitchers, to Albert being thrown out by a mile at home, to the caught stealing to Dotel unable to field any bunts to Molina celebrating a home run that failed to even make it to the Crawford boxes….
      ….how they hell did they make it to the 10th?

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM

        Oh, and I forgot to mention pinch hitting for David Freese (.295/.347/.437) for Daniel Descalso (.262/.333/.352) with two on and two out. Why? So what if a righty was on the mound, Freese hits righties better anyway!
        Seriously, what the f**k is going on in Tony LaRussa’s head that he thinks you win games by pinch hitting for much better hitters?

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:27 AM

      Were you drunk during the game? I will agree that Yadi should have been running out of the box. If so..he most likely would have been on 3rd (and avoided getting thrown out on the comebacker). This would have left Yadi on 3rd with 2 outs. However, he was NOT hotdogging it. He was pleading and willing that ball over the wall as he knows it is a short fence. No excuse though cause’ he should have been running out of the box. But to say he lost them the game is incredibly moronic. He had (2)…10 pitch at bats. He was 1 – 2 w/ 3 freaking walks.
      (Translation = he reached base 4 of 5 times).
      Do your homework if your gonna’ talk smack like that!

  3. materialman80 - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    I am a Cardinal fan, always have been. They have made a nice run here at the end, but if you can’t beat Houston, which is basically a AA club, you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

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