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Final Score: Padres 6 Cardinals 4

The Bottom Line:

— The St. Louis Cardinals (75-67) lost to the San Diego Padres (68-75) on Tuesday night by a score of 6-4. They maintain a one game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second spot in the National League wild card race.

— After being given a 2-0 lead, Adam Wainwright gave up five runs (only two earned though) over six innings which put the Cardinals in a 5-2 hole. He also recorded 6 strikeouts and 4 walks.

— In the seventh, David Freese hit his 19th home run of the year (76th RBI) to cut the Padres’ lead to just one run.

Trevor Rosenthal looked fantastic, as he gave up no runs and struck out the side in the seventh inning, lowering his ERA to 3.29.

— In his nineteenth appearance for the Cardinals, Edward Mujica gave up his first earned run in the eighth inning, giving the Padres a 6-4 lead.

— The Cards left 12 men on base tonight and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Adam Wainwright was not nearly as bad as the box score printed tonight. That five-run fourth inning was simply a product of poor defense. Skip Schumaker and David Freese were both given very makable plays and were unable to execute. I’m not saying these are easy plays, and I know it’s easy to criticize when I’m not the one down there on the field, but even Schumaker and Freese would tell you that those are plays they usually make. I generally don’t like playing the “what if” game, but there is no doubt that those couple of plays impacted the Redbirds chance to come back and win this game. The Cardinals have 11 errors in their last 10 games.

What I really liked about Rosenthal tonight was that all of his pitches were effective tonight. His fastball consistently hit the upper-90s and his breaking pitches completely fooled guys like Chase Headley and Jesus Guzman, who both struck out looking against Rosenthal. He has absolutely impressed and more during his short tenure in the Majors, so I’m definitely curious to see how Matheny will handle him down the stretch…might he even deserve a spot on the postseason roster if necessary?

But yet again, the name of the game tonight was not being able to drive in runners when in scoring position. We talk about it on CardsBlog all the time and this has simply been the most significant hindrance on the Cardinals 2012 season, as tonight they left runners on base every single inning except for the first. All teams going for this wild card spot are struggling right now (unless you consider the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers to be back in the race, which I don’t quite yet). The Dodgers are suffering with injuries and the Pirates pitching has broken down on them. This race is far from over and everyone is refusing to run away with it. But if there’s anything we know about this current era in St. Louis Cardinals baseball, they’re extremely resilient and can come back from anything, so let’s go back out there tomorrow and get ourselves a victory to save this road trip.

What’s Next: The Cardinals try to salvage the final game of this three-game series before heading to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. Kyle Lohse (14-2; 2.81) will oppose Clayton Richard (12-12; 3.78) at 5:35 PM CST on Fox Sports Midwest. As always, pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog. Go Cards.

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