For a 3rd straight night of better than 95 degree !st pitch temperatures and full houses at steamy Busch stadium the Cards faced the new look Astros having dropped the first 2 by a combined 27-8 score, looking to win the finale of the 3 game series.
Riding a four run 5 hit 1st inning, Abert Pujols' 3 run HR (his 27th) and a solid 7 plus innings from 12 game winner Chris Carpenter the Redbirds were able to salvage 1 win in the series before heading to Florida and Cincinnati on a six game trip remaining 1/2 game behind the Reds in the NL Central.
The manager, Tony LaRussa, continues to juggle the line-up in the face of apparent match up advantages. starting .209 hitter (and natural 3rd baseman) Allen Craig( 1HR , 8 RBI in last 10 games) in Rf over Jon Jay.(366, 3 HR, 13 RBI in last 10 games). With the Cards currently in fairly desperate need of a third baseman with David Freese lost for the season, if the manager felt the need to get Craig's bat in the line up , why not play him at 3rd? Unless the back to back starts for Craig were "showcases" of his versatility for a possible trade.
The win was not a cake walk at the end as closer Ryan Franklin, making his first appearance since July 30, allowed 2 9th inning runs to make the final 8-4.
Kyle Lohse makes a rehab start tonight in Springfield with a hopeful return to the rotation next week.
The Redbirds will send Adam Wainwright to face Ricky Nolasco on Friday followed by newcomer Jake Westbrook against Josh Johnson on Saturday with Jeff Suppan tentatively slated to face Anibal Sanchez on Sunday leaving the Cards able to line up Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Wainwright to face the Reds in the all important 3 game set starting Monday.
With an opportunity to win a series and gain ground on the Braves the Mets sent Mike Pelfrey to the mound hoping he could rediscover the magic he displayed over the first 2-1/2 months of the season. Alas, once again Pelfrey couldn't escape 1st inning trouble allowing yet another opening frame tally. The Mets attempted to make a game of it by rallying to tie the game and took a 2-1 lead after the top of the 3rd but newest "Met Killer" Brian McCann followed a HR from "old "Met Killer" Larry Jones with one of his own. Pelfrey avoided more damage until the 5th when Jose Reyes opened the door to 2 Braves runs by throwing away a grounder off the bat of reliever (and eventual winner) Mike Dunn. The error was followed by Pelfrey issuing a 2 out walk to Jones and with Hisanori Takahashi ready, Jerry Manuel allowed Pelfrey to face McCann who doubled to score Dunn. Manuel left Pelfrey in to issue an intentional walk to Eric Hinske to load the bases and then plunked Matt Diaz to force in Atlanta's 5th run. Manuel used his expertise to then remove Pelfrey and the Mets never recovered.
In addition Reyes' key throwing error in the 5th, the SS committed yet another in the 6th along with 1 each from Ike Davis and David Wright gifting 2 more runs to the Braves.
While the four errors were major contributors to the loss, Pelfrey's inability to get through the 5th inning yet again and the continued ridiculously poor decisions made by the manager provide the latest chapter in the same old story novel that is the Mets 2010 season. "Ya Can't Make This S*** Up!"
After a Thursday off day the Mets will head to Philadelphia to face the Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino less Phils in their effort to stay in the NL Wild Card hunt and hoping to improve on their 54-54 record.
The Mets send Jon Niese against Joe Blanton on Friday followed by Johan Santana and RA Dickey facing Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay on Saturday and Sunday.
The Mantra for the Mets remains:
FIRE JERRY MANUEL !!
FIRE OMAR MINAYA !!
AS ALWAYS WE STILL BELIEVE ....
LET'S GO METS !!!!