Rockies 8, Cardinals 1
ST. LOUIS (AP)—On a night when their NL Central rivals won, the St. Louis Cardinals lost ground—despite playing at home against the National League’s worst road team.
The Colorado Rockies ended an eight-game losing streak and a 10-game road losing skid Tuesday, beating the Cardinals 8-1. The loss left St. Louis 2 1/2 games behind Chicago and Houston in the NL Central with 17 games to play.
“It’s frustrating,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I know they’ve been struggling on the road, but they looked like the club that was playing for something and we looked like the club that wasn’t (going) at it as hard. It’s a team loss.”
It’s been a difficult second half for Colorado. The Rockies were 50-47 and still in wild-card contention at the All-Star break. They are 16-32 since. Only Detroit (12-39) has been worse in the second half.
The Rockies have been particularly bad on the road, going 21-52 away from Coors Field, a mark that manager Clint Hurdle called “embarrassing.”
“We’re waiting to see how the Tigers did,” Hurdle joked. “We might have gained a game on them.”
The Cardinals have struggled all season to find decent starting pitching behind Matt Morris and Woody Williams. Things got worse as rookie right-hander Dan Haren (3-6) lasted only three innings, surrendering four runs on a three-run homer by Gregg Zaun in the second and a solo homer by Todd Helton, his 30th, in the third.
“I really had nothing,” said Haren, who has pitched seven innings in only one of his 13 starts. “It was disappointing because I never really gave us a chance.”
La Russa said Haren’s spot in the rotation remains secure. He’s scheduled to pitch Sunday in Houston.
The Cardinals relief pitching wasn’t much better. Colorado scored four runs in five innings off five relievers.
Zaun was batting .212 with just one homer in 137 at-bats entering the game. He also drove in a run with a fifth-inning double.
Colorado starter Jason Jennings (12-12) ended a personal road losing streak of six games. “I feel more comfortable at Coors, even though most pitchers don’t,” he said.
Jennings allowed one earned run on six hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked two. Three Colorado relievers combined for three scoreless innings.
Preston Wilson, playing despite a sore back, singled to lead off the second. Jay Payton walked and Zaun homered just over the wall in the right-field corner. Zaun signed with Colorado on Aug. 26 after being cut by Houston.
“It was my gut that he would do well against Haren, and my gut was right,” Hurdle said.
Helton, who also doubled and scored on Payton’s single in the eighth, raised his average to .351—second to NL leader Albert Pujols, who was 2-for-4, improving to .366.
Colorado pinch-hitter Greg Norton doubled home two runs in the eighth.
Cardinals LHP Lance Painter came in for one pitch, allowing Helton’s leadoff double to Helton in the eighth. It was Painter’s first appearance since he strained his left calf July 27. … The Rockies have led the NL in hitting a major league-record eight straight seasons. But that record will apparently end—they are fourth in team batting average at .266, well behind Atlanta’s .283…. Cardinals 1B Tino Martinez needs two homers to reach 300 for his career.