The Cardinals had the Astros where the wanted ’em early. Plenty of scoring opportunities and six solid innings of pitching from Brad Penny. However, the Cardinals couldn’t score enough and the wheels came off in the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss to Houston that has Penny scratching his wondering when the bats will support his outstanding pitching.
Up 2-0 in the seventh inning, Penny should have had two quick outs, but instead, after Penny retired Lance Berkman, Brendan Ryan’s throw to Albert Pujols on a routine grounder from Carlos Lee bounced in and Lee was safe.
Hunter Pence’s double put men on second and third, and Penny hit Geoff Blum with a pitch. Tommy Manzella hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-1, but with two outs, pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan singled to left that tied the game and pinch-hitter Humberto Quintero hit a roller of a single that gave Houston the lead. Then, Michael Bourn bunted to Albert Pujols, Penny didn’t cover first and Bourn reached for an RBI single before Kaz Matsui grounded out to end the inning.
After the Cardinals cut the lead to 4-3, Jason Motte gave up two homers in the eighth. The Cardinals should have had more than a 2-0 lead after six though. In the first, the Cards had first and third and one out and scored just one on a Matt Holliday RBI groundout. In the third, a double and three singles amounted to just one run. Yadier Molina hit into a double play to end the threat. In the fourth, third-base coach Jose Oquendo sent Skip Schumaker home from second on Penny’s single to center and Schumaker was easily thrown out.
Tony LaRussa talks about the missed opportunities and gives credit to Houston’s manager. Brad Penny talks about the lack of offense and the one bad inning.