Any hope that St. Louis baseball fans felt after a successful draft day was effectively destroyed by a walkoff homer off the bat of Jeremy Herida.
After eight innings of evenly matched small-ball, Jason Motte came out of the bullpen and threw a slider to Herida, the first batter he faced, who quickly dispatched the ball to the seats behind right field of Landshark Stadium. With this, the only home run of the game, the Marlins defeated the downward-spiralling Cardinals, 4-3.
The rest of Florida's scoring in the game came from the bat of third baseman, Emilio Bonafacio, who hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning, and a blooper off the glove of Cards ace, Chris Carpenter, which scored a run in the fifth.
The only Cardinals runs were driven in by Chris Duncan and Rick Ankiel.
Carpenter pitched six innings with relative ease, allowing three earned runs, and raising his ERA to a still impressive 1.23. He was relieved nicely by Kyle McClellan, who pitched two innings with no runs, until Motte's ninth-inning appearance blew things wide open.
Marlins ace, the young and intimidating Josh Johnson, also had a nice start, shutting down Albert Pujols (who has had 0 hits in his last 15 at-bats), and causing increasingly ineffective Cardinals hitters to strand six baserunners.
There were a few scary moments in the game. In the sixth, a swing of Pujols's bat accidentally caught Marlins catcher John Baker in the ear, and he left the game with blood gushing out of his ear. Later that inning, third baseman Brendan Ryan collided with Chris Duncan when, moronically, they were both chasing the same foul ball. Luckily, both fielders were okay.
Overall, the Cardinals revealed that both clutch offense and the trustworthiness of their bullpen are sorely lacking this season. With this game, they have continued their trend of making chump opponents appear to be champs.
The Cards have lost five games in a row to teams that any true contender should be able to beat. They have fallen three games behind the Brewers in the NL Central, and currently are also getting statistically surpassed by both the Cubs and the Reds.
Right now, the way they're playing, and with Pujols being unproductive with his bat, there is no indication that they will be able bridge that gap.
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