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Hitting is real culprit behind Cardinals' demise

The SportsXchange

In the big picture, the St. Louis Cardinals blew a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series because they didn't hit well enough, pitch well enough or field well enough.

Defense aside -- and you can't ignore the fact that the Cardinals offered up an LCS-record 10 unearned runs -- the Cardinals hit next to nothing in the last three games of the series. in which they were outscored by the champion San Francisco Giants 20-1.

Catcher Yadier Molina had four singles on Monday in a 9-0 whitewash administered by the Giants. But the rest of the club had only three singles and the Cardinals went nothing for 11 with men in scoring position.

"We've got to put something on the board," said manager Mike Matheny. "We've done it all season. But you have short runs like this sometimes."

Second baseman Daniel Descalso said, "It's hard to win ballgames when you're not scoring any runs, defense aside. You score one run in three games, you're not going to have a good chance to win."

Right-hander Kyle Lohse, 18-3 this season counting postseason play coming into the game, got a quick hook from Matheny with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third and the Cardinals down just 2-0.

Giants right fielder Hunter Pence hit a broken-bat bouncer that seemed headed to the right of shortstop Pete Kozma, who broke that way only to have the barrel of the broken bat hit the ball not once but twice more. The ball skittered to the left of Kozma for a two-run double abetted by an error from center fielder Jon Jay, and the Giants had a 5-0 lead.

"That is a turning point in the game," said Matheny. "You're looking at a potential double play. We may be able to get out of that inning where it's a 3-0 game."

The Cardinals had won six straight elimination games over the last two years. And now they have been eliminated.
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