ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jake Westbrook heads into the All-Star break on a pretty decent roll after giving up just one earned run in 6 2-3 innings against the Miami Marlins.
Too bad for him the St. Louis Cardinals weren’t able to muster any offense.
“Anytime you lose it’s not fun,” Westbrook said after taking a hard-luck defeat in a 3-2 loss on Friday night. “You give your team a chance to win and you do everything you can control.
“After that, it doesn’t do any good to worry about things you can’t control.”
Ricky Nolasco allowed an unearned run in six innings and Jose Reyes got the go-ahead RBI with an infield hit in the seventh. The Cardinals were 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and 4 for 23 with men on base.
The Cardinals’ 3-4-5 hitters, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig, were 3 for 13 with three strikeouts and hitless in seven chances with runners in scoring position. Holliday and Beltran are headed for the All-Star game.
“These guys have been coming through,” manager Mike Matheny said. “You look at their stats and they’ve got a lot of RBIs. The reason for that is because they do come through in that situation, it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Logan Morrison added his second home run in three games in the eighth for the Marlins, who won their third in a row and beat the Cardinals for just the second time in the past 10 meetings.
A sellout crowd waited patiently in a game that began in 103-degree heat for something to happen. Fans had to settle for a great view of the Fair St. Louis fireworks display on the Mississippi River waterfront — easily visible over the scoreboard in right-center — that began right before Reyes beat out a slow roller down the third-base line to break a 1-all tie.
David Freese had three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, production that was offset when he committed two errors and nearly had a third in a sloppy sixth that allowed the Marlins to tie it. Freese, picked to his first All-Star game, entered with five errors in 76 games.
Heath Bell allowed pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker’s leadoff double and a one-out, run-scoring infield hit by Rafael Furcal in the ninth before finishing for his 19th save in 24 chances. He entered 0-3 with an 8.83 career ERA against St. Louis, and 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA on the road this season with four blown saves in 11 opportunities.
Westbrook (7-7) had the Cardinals’ third error with a wild throw on Reyes’ soft tapper not far from the plate. He’s 3-1 in his past five starts with a complete game against the Tigers, but thought he could have done better on the go-ahead play.
Westbrook considered throwing home in an attempt to catch Hanley Ramirez coming down the line, but didn’t think his angle was too good so he tried to get Reyes at first. He’s 1-1 against the Marlins, with the victory coming on June 9, 2004, when he was with the Indians.
“I was kind of off-balance to begin with and I thought that was the best play,” Westbrook said. “If I make a good throw, he’s out. If I put the ball on the money, he’s out.”
Nolasco gave up nine hits but got the big outs when it counted against the Cardinals. The right-hander beat the Cardinals for the first time in five career decisions, two starts after allowing an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings but got no decision in an 8-7 loss to St. Louis in Miami.
Freese made a nice stop on Reyes’ smash to start the inning, righted himself and then pulled first baseman Craig off the bag with a high throw. The Cardinals settled for a force out the next at-bat when Freese fielded a grounder by Ramirez and pulled second baseman Daniel Descalso so far off the bag he had to make a diving stab with his glove.
Carlos Lee’s grounder went right between Freese’s legs for a two-base error as Ramirez scored from first. Freese’s throw on Justin Ruggiano’s double play ball was also high, but Craig landed his foot in time.
Craig reached on an infield hit and took second on Reyes’ wild throw from shortstop, then scored on Freese’s double that bounded high off the third-base bag.
Morrison hit his 11th homer off Maikel Cleto in the eighth to make it 3-1 and also was hit twice by Westbrook, doubling his season total. He has four homers and 11 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Kyle Lohse (8-2, 2.80) will try to beat the Marlins for the third straight start on Saturday, opposing Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 4.14). … Ruggiano singled his first two trips and is 16 for 33 during a career-best nine-game hit streak. … Gregg Dobbs singled in the seventh and has hit in nine straight, one off his career best. … Attendance of 46,721 was the Cardinals’ 14th sellout and third-largest crowd of the season. … Schumaker is 4 for 8 with three doubles against Bell.