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the breaks at the break

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they're gonna need more than 3 days off after that game . . . . .

like saturday's win, yesterday's had most of the same elements that contributed to a typical loss in the midst of the skid -- costly defensive lapses, baserunning mistakes, anxious at-bats in key situations, debatable bullpen deployment by la russa, and the inevitable blown save. and we'd be picking at all those nits this morning if jason lane's smash in the bottom of the 10th hadn't landed a foot foul, or if roy oswalt's big ol' floppy shoe hadn't missed 1st base by a whisker, or if aaron miles had taken the same futile extra-inning at-bat with men on base that we saw in this game. a week ago the luck would have broken against the cardinals, they would have lost, and we would in fact be bilious and foul this morning. but the luck did break their way, and so -- despite playing the same ragged game we've all grown accustomed to -- they arrive at the break with a 4-game lead, the nl's second-best record, and an even-money chance (per baseball prospectus) of winning the division.

all in all, i'll take that and be happy with it.

i hope to be back this afternoon with a transcript of my interview with trey hearne, who pitches tonight for quad cities; if i don't get to it today, look for it tomorrow. for the time being, take a gander at blake hawksworth's flat-billed cap:

not bad, eh? positively reyesian . . . . anybody know how he wears his socks?

hawksworth had another shaky outing last night for springfield; he's still looking for his 1st double-a win. . . . . top draftee adam ottavino retains his 0.00 era in short-season a; he threw 6 innings of 1 hit ball and has now allowed just 5 hits in 20 innings as a professional, with 7 walks and 19 strikeouts. power prospect mark hamilton homered in that game, his 6th in 69 at-bats. . . .