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Bucs' offense stays stagnant

Bucs' offense stays stagnant
ST. LOUIS -- The heart of the Pirates' lineup went 0-for-16 against the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon.

The 2-3-4-5 batters had more double play grounders (one) than runs and RBI combined (none).

Indeed, it was a rough day for Delwyn Young, Craig Monroe, Eric Hinske and Brandon Moss.

Using a makeshift lineup during a turnaround day game, the Pirates' offense sputtered again in a 5-2 loss to St. Louis at Busch Stadium.

"We changed things up a little, but we still didn't score any runs," Pirates manager John Russell said. "It was one of those games where we couldn't get much going."

The Pirates , hitting .198 as a team in the past eight games, dropped their fifth consecutive game and fell to 1-9 in their past 10.

"I think everyone is pretty frustrated," said Hinske, who started at first base and went 0-for-4. "We're not hitting as a team. ... It makes it hard."

The Pirates managed only four hits -- the highlight being Robinzon Diaz's first career home run -- against Todd Wellemeyer (3-2), the same pitcher they tagged for 12 hits in an April 8 win.

But Wellemeyer pitched seven strong innings in the rematch, and the Cardinals scored four runs in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie and sweep the two-game series.

One day after hitting 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position in a frustrating 4-2 loss, the Pirates rarely got the chance to fail under pressure. They advanced only three runners past second base. Thirteen of their final 14 batters were retired.

"I don't know what to say," said Moss, who went 0-for-4 to fall to .195 this season. "It's just going tough right now."

Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf (3-3) pitched better than his stat line (six innings, five earned runs) would suggest. Four of the runs came in the fifth inning, including a leadoff home run by Pirates killer Jason LaRue.

"The rest of the game, I felt like I pitched pretty well," Ohlendorf said. "It was just that one inning."

LaRue, a career .232 hitter, drove Ohlendorf's first pitch into the left-center field bleachers to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Cardinals. It was LaRue's 12th career home run against the Pirates -- far more than any other opponent (the Phillies are next with seven).

Skip Schumaker and Colby Rasmus hit one-out singles before Ohlendorf drilled Albert Pujols in the lower back to load the bases and draw loud boos from the 41,928 in attendance.

Ohlendorf then hit the next batter, Ryan Ludwick, to force in a run for a 3-1 Cardinals lead.

Chris Duncan followed with a sacrifice fly, and Khalil Greene hit an RBI single for a 5-1 Cards' edge.

Diaz's seventh-inning homer closed out the scoring.

Ohlendorf, who will face the Cardinals for the third time this season next week at PNC Park, struck out five, matching a career-high, and he walked one.

"It was just that one inning," he said. "Aside from the fifth, I threw the ball well. I think I was overthrowing a little bit. That whole inning, I was having trouble locating."

As for the back-to-back hit batsmen, there was no repeat of the umpire warnings and ultimatums given last week against Milwaukee and slugger Ryan Braun.

"I wanted to go in, but I didn't want to go in that far," Ohlendorf said. "(Hitting them) certainly wasn't the only thing I did wrong that inning."

Said Pujols: "He didn't know where he was throwing it. I don't think he wanted to hit me with Ludwick coming up."

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Schumaker's sinking liner got past diving Nate McLouth, and Pujols hit a sacrifice fly.

The Pirates tied the score in the fifth on McLouth's two-out RBI double.

Ohlendorf, meanwhile, cruised along, striking out Ludwick and Duncan in the fourth. But LaRue hit his home run to open the fifth, and Ohlendorf unraveled a bit.

"You take away that one inning, I thought he threw well," Russell said. "Unfortunately, one inning can lose a game for you."

How they scored

Cardinals first (Ross Ohlendorf pitching)

With none out, Skip Schumaker tripled to center. Colby Rasmus flied out to center. Albert Pujols hit sacrifice fly to center, Schumaker scored.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0

Pirates fifth (Todd Wellemeyer pitching)

With none out, Andy LaRoche walked. Robinzon Diaz singled to center, LaRoche to second. Brian Bixler struck out. Ohlendorf flied out to center. Nate McLouth doubled to right, LaRoche scored.

Pirates 1, Cardinals 1

Cardinals fifth (Ohlendorf pitching)

With none out, Jason LaRue homered to left-center (No. 1) on the first pitch. Wellemeyer struck out. Schumaker singled to right. Rasmus reached on a bunt single, Schumaker to second. Pujols hit by pitch, Schumaker to third, Rasmus to second. Ryan Ludwick hit by pitch, Schumaker scored, Rasmus to third, Pujols to second. Chris Duncan hit sacrifice fly to left, Rasmus scored. Khalil Greene singled to left, Pujols scored.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1

Pirates seventh (Wellemeyer pitching)

With one out, Diaz homered to left (No. 1) on a 2-0 pitch.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 2

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 8, 2009

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