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Cardinals lose 2-1 again, this time to Pirates

Associated Press Published: August 17, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mike Matheny wasn't happy with plate umpire Lance Barnett's strike zone.

The St. Louis Cardinals manager didn't much care for his team's at-bats, either.

"With chest-high curveballs, nothing good is going to happen but you'll pop it up," Matheny said after the Cardinals settled for one run for the second straight game in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. "That wasn't the whole story."

Third base coach Jose Oquendo was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing a borderline outside strike on leadoff man Jon Jay.

Matheny said the strike zone was "significantly higher than we've had this season."

"He establishes the zone," Matheny added, "but that doesn't mean we have to like it."

The Cardinals lead the National League in hitting but have 10 hits in the last two games. That includes four infield hits Thursday when Kyle Lohse worked 6 2-3 innings and got no decision after Jason Motte gave up consecutive homers with one out in the ninth of a 2-1 loss to Arizona.

"Bottom line is there are no excuses," Jay said after going 0 for 3 with a walk. "We'll turn the page. Tomorrow is a big game."

Jake Westbrook (12-9) allowed one earned run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings against the Pirates, who scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball in the fourth.

"I kept us close. I gave us a chance to win," Westbrook said. "Whether you have your stuff or not or you feel good or not, you go about it and pitch to the circumstances of the game."

Westbrook noted he allowed one run too many.

"I put myself in that situation. It's nobody's fault but my own," he said. "I battled through and settled down a little bit, I just got outpitched.

James McDonald halted a string of ineffective starts with six innings of two-hit ball for the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen singled and scored on the passed ball in the fourth.

McDonald (11-5) was 0-2 in his previous four outings while allowing 20 earned runs over 21 1-3 innings. He coughed up a 7-1 lead in his last start when he allowed six runs in the fifth during a loss to the Padres.

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