ST. LOUIS - The hockey team here is happy. It just signed Paul Kariya.
The Diamondbacks are the ones suffering from a case of the St. Louis blues.
Arizona’s bats remained dormant for the third straight day, and a leaky bullpen let the Cardinals coast to an 11-3 win in front of 42,312 fans Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Arizona (46-38) led the National League West on June 24 after a win over Baltimore, but six losses in eight games since then have dropped the D-Backs 2 1/2 games behind division-leading San Diego.
“We’re not doing much,” outfielder Eric Byrnes said. “There are plenty of ways we lost that game. All around we’ve been playing sloppy baseball. We’ve got to get our act together if we expect to stay in contention in the NL West.”
The game was tied at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh when the Cardinals took control.
Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker hit a ground ball to Orlando Hudson, who flipped it toward pitcher Brandon Webb racing to the bag. Webb dropped the ball on the bang-bang play and Schumaker was given credit with a hit.
“It should have been an error,” Webb said. “I beat him to the base and just dropped it.”
So Taguchi was hit by a pitch to end Webb’s night, and Aaron Miles reached first when shortstop Stephen Drew hesitated for a moment while contemplating a force at third and threw late to first. Albert Pujols then knocked in a pair with an opposite-field single for a 5-3 lead, and Chris Duncan added an RBI single for a 6-3 cushion.
“If we play defense at all in that inning it might be a different story,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.
The Cardinals would tack on five more in the eighth, highlighted by a three-run triple by Scott Rolen.
Melvin said changes are forthcoming for today’s second game of the four-game set.
“It will look a little different,” Melvin said.
A big sixth inning put the Diamondbacks ahead 3-2. Chris Snyder led off with a solo home run, and Chad Tracy knocked in Byrnes and Orlando Hudson — who doubled and walked, respectively — with a single to center.
That was it for the Arizona offense, which mustered one hit in the other eight innings. The Diamondbacks were set down in order in seven of the nine frames.
Byrnes dismissed the notion the younger position players might be getting fatigued in the grind of a long season.
“They should be picking it up, they shouldn’t be hitting a wall at this point,” Byrnes said. “This should be when the young, fresh guys are ready to go. That’s the idea. All of them have gone through periods where they’ve struggled and all of them have gone through periods where they’ve had success.
“Now it’s time for them to turn into major leaguers and be consistent day in and day out. That’s what every one of our guys should expect — day in and day out consistency, which we really haven’t had as a team. It’s something we need, though.”