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Archive for Friday, September 14, 2007

Cardinals running out of gas?

Slumping St. Louis swept by Reds for seventh consecutive loss

September 14, 2007

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Reds 5, Cardinals 4

Cincinnati - The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals may be running out of resilience.

Joey Votto hit a two-run double, and David Ross followed with a two-run homer Thursday, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a victory that completed the Cardinals' road trip to ruin.

The Cardinals lost all seven games on their trip, capped by their first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since July 1998. It's their first winless trip of at least seven games since May 1972, when they went 0-7 in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

It's a bad time to be making historical references.

"We're a little flat, things aren't going our way, and we're not playing good baseball," outfielder Jim Edmonds said. "All those add up to losses. It's really no different than it was at the beginning of the year. It's just a bad time for it right now."

The Cardinals had surged from 101â2 games out at the end of June to within a game of first place in the NL Central before hitting the road and hitting the skids. They are five games behind first-place Chicago, which beat Houston 6-2 on Thursday night, and 41â2 games behind Milwaukee, which was idle Thursday.

"It's just been - I don't even know how to word it," said Kip Wells (6-17), who lost his fourth straight start. "It's just been tough. We haven't caught any breaks."

Votto doubled home a pair of runs in the fifth off Wells, and Ross followed with his first homer since July 23. The catcher had been 1-for-15 since returning from a concussion.

Cubs 6, Astros 2

Houston - Steve Trachsel earned his first win with the Cubs in eight years.

Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Daryle Ward and Cliff Floyd all homered. Trachsel (1-2) gave up two solo homers and seven hits in five innings for his first win since the Cubs acquired him from Baltimore.

The 36-year-old right-hander pitched for the Cubs from 1993-99, and his last win with them came on Oct. 3, 1999. The 2,906-day gap between victories is the third-longest in team history.

Kerry Wood and two other relievers combined for four scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Carlos Lee and Mark Loretta homered for the Astros, who have dropped 10 of 15 games since Cecil Cooper replaced Phil Garner as manager on Aug. 27.

Soriano hit Williams' second pitch off the brick facade in left field, his 40th career leadoff homer. Soriano has eight leadoff home runs this season.

Phillies 12, Rockies 4

Philadelphia - Chase Utley hit a two-run homer. Geoff Geary (2-2) pitched three scoreless innings after starter J.D. Durbin lasted just one inning, then five other relievers allowed one run over the final five innings.

Rockies starter Jeff Francis (15-8) couldn't make it out of the fourth. Jimmy Rollins singled to start the inning. He broke early for second, but first baseman Todd Helton dropped the throw from Francis, and Rollins recorded his 32nd steal.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3

Los Angeles - David Wells beat Greg Maddux in a matchup of 40-something pitchers, and James Loney drove in four runs.

Released by the Padres last month, Wells (8-8) allowed four hits and three runs in six innings with one walk and three strikeouts. He also had two hits off Maddux for the first multihit game of his 21-year career.

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