Cardinals Lose Seventh Straight Game

Wednesday, September 27th 2006, 5:57 am
By: News On 6

The St. Louis Cardinals' magic number to clinch the NL Central for a third straight season dropped to 5 last Wednesday.

6 days,and 7 straight losses later, it's still 5.

The San Diego Padres beat the Cardinals 7-5 Tuesday night, cutting St. Louis' lead in the division to 1 1/2 games over the Houston Astros, who won their 7th straight, 7-4 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

What was supposed a week of getting ready for the playoffs has become a week of trying to survive for the Cardinals.

``We're not OK because we can't make enough happen to win a game,'' St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. ``But we're still alive, so we understand that also.''

The Astros, meanwhile, have suddenly found themselves in a pennant race as they try to repeat as NL champions.

``This is unbelievable right now,'' Houston starter Andy Pettitte said. ``I mean, really, you don't know what to say. ... Maybe we ought to keep saying we got no shot, you know?''

Cincinnati beat Florida 5-3 to stay 1 game behind Houston in the NL Central.

San Diego reduced its magic number to win the NL West to 4 with the win over the Cardinals.

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat Colorado 11-4 Tuesday and took a 1 game lead in the wild card race over Philadelphia, which lost 4-3 to the Washington Nationals.

In other NL games on Tuesday, it was: Atlanta 12, New York 0; Chicago 14, Milwaukee 6; and San Francisco 4, Arizona 2.

At St. Louis, Mike Cameron's 2 run double capped San Diego's 4 run 7th inning against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.

``It's amazing that we were able to come back on him the way we were,'' starter Woody Williams said of the Padres' 6th straight win. ``It doesn't happen very often, but I guess things were on our side tonight.''

Williams (11-5) won his 4th straight game with 6 solid innings. Trevor Hoffman got the last 3 outs for his major league leading 44th save.

``Last year I don't think we were very good, I really don't,'' Williams said. ``They rebuilt this team and we put a pretty good product out there now.''

Carpenter (15-8), the NL Cy Young winner last year, struggled in losing his second straight start. He labored through 120 pitches in 7 innings, allowing 6 runs and 12 hits.

``This is a time when we need to start winning ballgames,'' Carpenter said. ``Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a big pitch when I had to.''

Astros 7, Pirates 4

Craig Biggio drove in 3 runs and Pettitte won his third straight decision as the Astros improved to 79-78, the first time they've been over .500 since June 22.

Luke Scott had 2 hits, 2 runs and an RBI for the Astros. Pettitte (14-13) scattered 10 hits and a walk while striking out 2 in 6 2-3 innings. He improved to 7-1 lifetime against Pittsburgh.

Jason Bay and Jose Bautista homered for the host Pirates, who have lost 5 in a row. Freddy Sanchez went 4-5 to raise his league leading average to .346.

Dodgers 11, Rockies 4

At Denver, Nomar Garciaparra homered and drove in 3 runs, Russell Martin drove in 4 runs and Greg Maddux won his 332nd career game. Maddux (14-14) allowed 3 earned runs and 7 hits with no walks and 3 strikeouts in 6 innings, throwing only 76 pitches.

Jason Jennings (9-13) allowed 5 earned and 9 hits in 5 innings.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3

Ryan Zimmerman went 3-4 and drove in 3 runs for the host Nationals. Chad Cordero earned his 29th save when he got Ryan Howard to fly out to deep center to end the game with the tying run on.

Brett Myers (12-7) had been 8-1 on the road this season, including 6 consecutive winning decisions. He went 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and 3 runs.

Reds 5, Marlins 3

David Ross hit 2 homers for the Reds, who won their third straight. Matt Belisle, making his first start of the season after 28 relief appearances, pitched 3 2-3 innings for the Reds and gave up 1 run and 3 hits. Ryan Franklin (6-7) worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.

Dontrelle Willis (12-12) gave up 5 runs and 7 hits in 5 innings for the Marlins, who have lost 4 straight and were eliminated from the wild card race.

Braves 12, Mets 0

At Atlanta, John Smoltz (15-9) gave up 6 hits over 8 innings to reach 15 wins for the first time in 8 years and Andruw Jones became the first Braves hitter with consecutive 40 homer seasons.

Oliver Perez (3-13) gave up 7 hits and 6 runs in 5 1-3 innings as the NL East champions lost their third straight and 6th of 7.

Cubs 14, Brewers 6

Henry Blanco had 4 hits and 4 RBIs to help Sean Marshall get his first win since July 5. Marshall (6-9), in his fifth start since coming off the disabled list with a right strained oblique muscle, allowed 6 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings.

Carlos Villanueva (1-2) went 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 5 runs for the visiting Brewers, who had a 5 game winning streak snapped.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2

At San Francisco, Moises Alou hit a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th to end the Giants' 5 game losing streak. Mike Stanton (7-6) pitched the 9th for the victory as San Francisco won for the third time in 13 games.

Arizona's Brandon Webb outpitched Matt Morris in their first matchup of 2006.

Webb allowed 1 earned run and 3 hits in 8 innings, while Morris gave up 2 runs and 7 hits in 8 innings and avoided losing his fifth straight start.

Randy Choate (0-1) got the loss.