It was a rare sight to see: Albert Pujols playing second base in an extra innings game. It was not enough for the Cardinals, as they lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 9-8 on Tuesday.
The Cardinals used up their three middle infielders and 13 pitchers and even then it was not enough to defeat their divisional foes. Albert Pujols was forced to play second base for the first time in his career as many Redbird faithfuls held their breath in fear that he would be injured playing out of position.
After the four hour and 28 minute marathon manager Tony LaRussa still saw the silver lining.
"I focus on the outstanding effort that we had," manager Tony La Russa said. "You focus on whatever you want to."
Typical LaRussa, you can never really get him down. He always manages to turn a negative into a positive. As a good manager always should.
The Cardinals first relief pitcher, John Thompson, allowed four runs in the sixth inning after the Cardinals had clawed their way back to make it a one run game in the fifth.
Thompson clearly showed remorse for his lackluster performance.
"Four runs in an inning," Thompson said. "That's terrible. Our team battles back and I didn't give us a chance. ... I was trying to throw him a slider away, and left it up middle and he [Rickie Weeks] pulled it."
The bullpen painfully exposed their weakness as closer Jason Isringhausen could not hold the Brewers in the 12th inning as the Cardinals battled back to tie the game.
Milwaukee's Gabe Kapler hit a 12th inning one-out single to end the game. However, closer Isringhausen still felt that he could have shut down the Brewers if he had make the right pitch.
"We had chances," Isringhausen said. "They had chances. Nobody could get a run across the board in extra innings. "And then just a lazy curveball. He slapped it to the outfield. [It] wasn't that hard. If I make a good pitch, I get him out."
The encouraging signs were that the Cardinals offense still showed tenacity by battling back. Also, when the manager needed players to play out of position all of the players were up to the task.
The task now is for the Cardinals to solidify the back end of their starting rotation along with their bullpen. A problem that plagues many major league teams this year.