The last time the St. Louis Cardinals had a road losing streak this long, they ended it with a win on Independence Day in 2001.
The Cardinals hope for the same result in 2006 as they look to snap their seven-game road losing streak and win their seventh straight game on July 4 in the middle game of their series against the Atlanta Braves.
St. Louis (44-37), which lost to the Braves 6-3 on Monday, has lost 11 of its last 13 overall.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 28th homer in the defeat, and is 9-for-15 (.600) with two homers and six RBIs in his last three games. He is batting .383 (18-for-47) in his last 11 games since missing 15 games while on the disabled list with a strained side muscle.
The Cardinals had won 13 of their previous 18 road games before their road woes. They haven’t lost eight straight road games since June 10-July 3, 2001.
“We’re playing good, but just not good enough,” said Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds, who has four home runs on July 4 in his career. “We just have to keep playing hard. We’re close. It’s not fun.”
Despite their recent struggles, the Cardinals still have a one-game lead over Cincinnati in the NL Central.
The Braves (36-47) won consecutive games for the first time since May 27-28 — a span of 33 games—with Monday’s win.
Atlanta hit four home runs on Monday, and has seven in its last two games.
Catcher Brian McCann—named to his first All-Star team Sunday—hit his sixth homer, and is 8-for-20 (.400) in his last five games.
Third baseman Chipper Jones was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game and is sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury. Jones will see a foot specialist Tuesday after an MRI showed a partial tear of the plantar plate and the second toe in his right foot.
Braves spokesman Brad Hainje, reading from a statement, said the injury is similar to but not as severe as the one Jones had in his left foot in 2005 when he missed 37 games.
“They’re going to hold me out until we get some definitive answers,” said Jones, who is batting .296 with 10 home runs. “They don’t want me out there for nine innings. That repetitive pounding that it takes during the course of the game—we could have a setback.”
John Thomson (2-6, 4.68 ERA) will start Tuesday for the first time since going on the 15-day DL with a blister on his right middle finger June 14.
“It’s fine,” Thomson said Monday. “I played catch today and it was fine. I threw fastballs and sinkers. That’s probably the two pitches (affected the most), because my cutter and my slider come off my four-seamer.”
The right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.80 ERA in his last six starts after posting a 1.59 ERA in his first seven.
Thomson is 2-4 with a 5.06 ERA in nine career starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis will counter with right-hander Chris Carpenter (6-4, 2.85), who looks for his first career win over Atlanta.
The reigning NL Cy Young winner has 91 career victories and wins over every team except the Braves and Cardinals—whom he has never faced.
The nine-year veteran is 0-1 with a 8.56 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta.
Carpenter allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win over Cleveland on Wednesday, but did not factor in the decision.