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2003-08-23 00:38
by Mike Carminati

Albert Pujols just, lost his bid to extend his 30-game hit streak, going 0-for-5 in an odd Cards' loss to the Phils, 9-4. The game went from a 4-3 realtively low-scoring game through seven with the Cardinals continually edging out the Phils to a wild blowout in the Phils' favor. In the end Jim Thome and Pat Burrell both homered twice and the Phillies scored 7 runs in three innings off the Cards' atrocious bullpen.

The game also featured a bench clearing after alleged reliever Esteban "Toward Triple-A" Yan threw inside to Marlon Byrd twice in a row. Somehow Yan stayed in the game even though a warning had been previous declared.

The Cards acquired Sterling Hitchcock earlier in the day from the elated Yankees and he will start Saturday. They also liberated Mike DeJean from Milwaukee. DeJean should help but the Cardinals apparently have no credible bullpen aside from Jason Isringhausen. Yan was especially poor. At one point in the ninth it became apparent that the Cardinals had no one else in the pen to waste on the game, meaning that Yan would just have to take one for the team. Yet it seemed that he could not get a man out. Yan faced 9 men. here are the results of the first 7: HR, strikeout (to end the eighth), single, walk (including clearing the benches, one actual wild pitch, and one should-have-been wild pitch on the second inside pitch to Byrd), passed ball, single, single, walk. In total, one out, four hits, two walks, three runs, and an inherited runner who scored. Then the Cards got three outs on two quick bang-bang plays to the shortstop.

The Phils maintain their one-game wild card lead over the Marlins, who are losing at San Francisco, with the ever-fading Dontrelle Willis getting knocked around (he had a 7.31 ERA in Auguts going into the game and allowed four runs in five innings). There are seven clubs within 4.5 games of Philadelphia.

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