Life without arguably the best player in baseball isn’t as easy as the Cardinals originally thought. The league leader in home runs and RBIs, Albert Pujols is on the disabled list indefinitely. St. Louis won their first game without the slugger, but has since dropped two straight. They lost to the Reds 7-0 Tuesday.
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter returned to the mound after time on the DL. His return was so-so, but hardly the stuff of a reigning Cy Young winner. He lasted just five innings giving up three runs on nine hits and striking out five. Perhaps it took Carpenter some time to shake off the rust. All three of the runs allowed came in the first two innings. His biggest mistake was giving up a solo home run to Felipe Lopez in the first.
The loss guarantees a consecutive home series loss for the Cardinals. They started the season winning the first nine. Even more devastating, the Reds gain ground on the Cardinals in the Central Division with every win. Cincinnati has fought to within one game of first place and a win tonight would bring them into a tie.
The game was well in the Cardinals reach when Carpenter left the game. Reliever Josh Hancock let the game get further out of reach surrendering a two-run home run to Adam Dunn in the seventh. He finished the inning but not before the Reds took a 5-0 lead.
Cincinnati didn’t settle for a five run lead. They continued to push runs across the plate against the Cardinals third pitcher Brad Johnson. A familiar face jump started the inning as Dunn doubled to center scoring Ken Griffey Jr. Another run scoring double by Scott Hatteberg all but put the game away.
Reds starter Eric Milton pitched seven shut out innings. Relievers Chris Hammond and Rick White backed Milton’s performance and combined for two scoreless frames.