The Braves threw away a strong outing from Derek Lowe by committing four errors in route to a 4-0 loss to the Cardinals.
Lowe allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking two and striking out one. He induced 11 groundouts to one flyout. The run came in the second when a Colby Rasmus double set up a RBI single by Skip Schumaker. The other two hits were singles in the fourth by Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina. He walked two that led to nothing.
So Lowe pitched five solid innings, continuing his great spring numbers. His two at bats to Albert Pujols were a walk and groundout.
The defense led to three unearned runs in the sixth. Pujols led off the inning reaching base on an error by Prado. Back-to-back singles brought him home. After a flyout for the first out, Freddie Freeman committed an error that loaded the bases. Schumaker followed with a two-run single for a three-run inning.
The three-run sixth was with Scott Proctor on the mound. All three runs were unearned, but he did allow three singles, so he didn't exactly go unscathed.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side around a hit by pitch in the seventh. Jonny Venters pitched around a leadoff error by Brooks Conrad with three groundouts in the eighth.
The Braves managed just three hits without scoring a run for the second straight day. They have now recorded five hits in two games as a team. Eric Hinske picked up a walk and single. Freddie Freeman and Shawn Bowman had the other two singles.
The Braves loaded the bases in the second on two walks and a single, but Matt Young grounded out to end the inning. They didn't reach base again until the eighth, when they loaded the bases again, but Wilkin Ramirez popped out to end the inning. Back-to-back singles in the ninth put two on with two outs, but Ed Lucas grounded out to end the game.
Kyle McClellan pitched five shutout innings on one hit for the Cardinals, walking two and striking out five. Pujols remained hitless against the Braves. Berkman apparently decided to get back at me for the remark I made earlier, going 2-3 with a RBI.
Errors by Lucas and Conrad can't help them at these times, but considering Diory Hernandez hasn't been perfect this spring, I don't think it matters much. Lucas, Ramirez and Young, all battling for spots, all left runners on in big spots today.
Proctor's rough inning was due in large part to defense, even if he did allow three singles.