Cardinals-Brewers: St. Louis' Bullpen Spoils Offensive Explosion

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2010

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 30: Relief pitcher Kyle McClellan #46 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws against the Cincinnati Reds on April 30, 2008 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Reds 5-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Drama was in the air at Miller Park Sunday Night. Home runs aplenty combined with late inning heroics gave way for an interesting game to say the least.

The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen couldn't stem the tide as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Redbirds in dramatic walk-off fashion 8-7 on Sunday.

Milwaukee's Casey McGehee hit a laser down the left field line off Redbirds reliever Kyle McClellan to slam the door shut on a sweep. 

McClellan knew just how badly he had let his team down.

"In my eyes, one pitch lost it," said McClellan. "I came in a tie game. My job was to get two outs and I didn't do it.

"As far as I'm concerned, one pitch cost our team that fought and clawed to get back in it," he said. "Our bullpen pitched our butts off and I come in and blow it on one pitch."

Flashbacks of the 2008 season danced in my head as I watched that McGehee sore down the line. Hopefully this won't be a sign of things to come. 

Sunday's game also included yet another pair of home runs from reigning National League MVP Albert Pujols. As to why pitchers keep insisting on trying to serve up meatballs for him to feast on is beyond my comprehension. 

Pujols had been struggling at the plate in several games but obviously it wasn't equated to any lack of skill. Sometimes the ball just doesn't go your way. No matter how much the media tries to portray him as "the Machine," he is human. 

The Cardinals had dramatics of their own as they were down by three runs in the top of the ninth inning with one of the most storied closers in the game taking the mound, Trevor Hoffman. 

Hoffman had just come off giving up a two-run pinch-hit home run to St. Louis' platoon utility man Nick Stavinoha the day before. That play had to be running through his mind as he stared down Albert Pujols. 

El Hombre proceeded to take Hoffman deep to bring St. Louis within a run. Matt Holliday consequently followed up his teammate with a round-tripper of his own on the next at-bat to tie the game. 

The Cardinals offense had to play catch up for most of the night as ace Chris Carpenter just did not bring his best pitching to Miller Park. 

"There's no question it wasn't coming out the way it typically does, but in that situation, I'm not going to overthrow the ball and start heaving," said Carpenter. "I was trying to execute. When I executed, I got outs. When I didn't, they hit 'em a long way."

Carpenter gave up seven runs, five earned and allowed three home runs. To put this into perspective, the 2005 NL Cy Young recipient allowed a total of seven home runs all of last season. 

However, the season barely has started and the Cardinals are now heading back to the friendly confines of Busch Stadium. 

Even his fellow teammate, Albert Pujols, knows that Carpenter is still one of the best in the game and has the mentality to come back from a rough loss. 

"It's just one game." said Pujols. "I don't think he's going to look down on himself. I'm pretty sure he's disappointed, but you know what? It's going to happen. He's not an automatic pitcher."

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