PHOENIX -- A day after J.C. Romero was unable to retire any of the five batters he faced, the Cardinals maintained that the disastrous outing was nothing more than an isolated bad night.
"I think he's done a nice job overall," manager Mike Matheny said. "I thought he threw the ball really well in Houston. His stuff looked really crisp. Last night was just a tough night. You're going to have those."
In the span of 18 pitches, Romero allowed four hits -- one that traveled 452 feet -- and walked one. All five batters scored during Arizona's six-run frame. The Cardinals had not given up that many runs in an inning this year.
Romero, who has been used predominately in left-on-left matchups, opened the season with eight straight scoreless appearances. That ended in Houston, where Romero allowed two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings on Saturday. He then followed that effort with Monday's rough one.
While the performance had no bearing on the outcome of the game, it did mess with Matheny's bullpen plans.
When Lance Lynn left a seven-run lead in the hands of the bullpen, Matheny intended to have Romero throw the sixth and Kyle McClellan, who hasn't pitched on the road trip, follow him in the seventh. When that lead shrunk to one, Matheny scratched plans to pitch McClellan and instead went with a common late-inning string of Victor Marte, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte.
The margin of victory also put Motte in position to collect a save, his fifth of the year. Of Motte's five saves, four have come in games the Cardinals won by three runs.