Tyler Colvin is met by teammates after his three run homer off Carpenter. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

More missed opportunities for the Cardinals and now they are running out of time after Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs who swept the Cardinals on their home field for the first time in 22 years. The loss, combined with another Reds’ win, leaves St. Louis eight games out in the Central and 7.5 in the Wild Card.

The first chance for the Cardinals to jump on Cubs’ starter Carlos Zambrano came in the second inning. The Cards got back to back singles to start the inning and then Zambrano plunked Yadier Molina.  Brendan Ryan lined to right field keeping Colby Rasmus at third and Chris Carpenter grounded into a double play.

After the Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third, the Cards tied the game on a Rasmus sac fly and took a 2-1 lead on a Molina sac fly in the sixth. That’s when things unraveled for Carpenter.

Matt Holliday is frustrated after striking out in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

After a double by Aramis Ramirez and single by Xavier Nady, Carpenter got Alfonso Soriano to strike out, but Cubs’ rookie Tyler Colvin lifted a three run homer to right to put the Cubs on top 4-2. Carpenter then gave up back to back doubles for another before being lifted with cramps in his hamstring.

Carpenter allowed five runs while giving up seven hits and striking out six. Carpenter fell to 15-7 on the season.

The Cardinals had one more chance to rally in the ninth. After Carlos Marmol walked Albert Pujols to load the bases, both Matt Holliday and Rasmus struck out at sliders in the dirt killing any comeback and perhaps killing the Cardinals season.