10/10/09 9:16 PM EST
Cardinals Short Hops: Game 3
Los Angeles delivered in the clutch, St. Louis didn't
By B.J. Rains / MLB.com
The Dodgers scored all five runs with two outs, and the Cardinals struggled yet again with runners in scoring position as their season ended.
The Cardinals had a chance to take an early lead in the first, but Yadier Molina grounded out weakly to short with the bases loaded to end the threat. Busch Stadium turned quiet, the Dodgers scored two runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead and the Cardinals were never in the game again.
4 -- The Cardinals offense went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, bringing their three-game total to a dismal four hits in 28 at-bats in that situation. The Cardinals will have all winter to think about the missed opportunities that caused their offense to score just six runs in three games. Game balls
With the Cards needing a strong outing from Pineiro to keep their season alive, the righty instead gave up four runs and seven hits and was pulled after just four innings. Pineiro put the Cardinals behind right away, giving up a two-out double to Manny Ramirez that put the Dodgers in front, 1-0, in the first inning.
Molina grounded out weakly with the bases loaded to end a threat in the first and then committed an awful baserunning blunder in the seventh. With the Cardinals trying to mount a comeback, he was thrown out trying to advance from second to third on a grounder to short. He went 2-for-4.
The lefty entered the game in the fifth and mowed down the heart of the Dodgers lineup to keep the Cardinals in the game. Reyes struck out Andre Ethier and Ramirez before getting James Loney on a grounder in his final appearance of 2009.
Sense of October
The crowd gave Matt Holliday a long standing ovation when he came to bat with runners at first and second and one out in the first. But Holliday, who committed a costly error in the Cardinals' Game 2 loss in Los Angeles, grounded out weakly to pitcher Vicente Padilla as the Cards wasted a good chance at taking some early momentum.
4 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R 0 SB
Comment: Holliday went 0-for-4 in what might be his last game with the Cardinals. After missing his RBI chance in the first inning, he then popped out with a runner on first to end the eighth, when the Cards attempted to stage a late rally.
4 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR
Comment: It wasn't the start Pineiro hoped to have going into free agency, giving up four runs on seven hits in four innings. The Cardinals had hoped for a better start as well but fell behind, 1-0, in the first and 3-0 in the third after a two-run homer by Ethier.
The Cardinals will head into the offseason with several question marks to fill in both the pitching rotation and lineup. Holliday and Mark DeRosa will be free agents as will 15-game winner Pineiro. The Cardinals offense struggled down the stretch, and they will most likely look to address the issue.
B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.