St. Louis Cardinals' Rafael Furcal celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals' Rafael Furcal (15) is tagged out by Atlanta Braves second baseman Jack Wilson to end the seventh inning of a baseball game on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals' Jon Jay hits a sacrifice fly during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011, in Milwaukee. Rafael Furcal scored from third. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Shortstop Rafael Furcal is not in the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup, a day after he committed a critical error in a ninth-inning collapse.
Nick Punto will get his fourth start of the season at the position in Friday night's game against the Chicago Cubs. Manager Tony La Russa chose Punto, a utility player, over prospect Tyler Greene and Ryan Theriot. Theriot, who made 87 starts at shortstop before the Cardinals acquired Furcal near the trade deadline, is in the lineup at second base.
Furcal mishandled a potential double-play ball with none out and a man on in the ninth, opening the door for the New York Mets' six-run rally in an 8-6 final that dropped the Cardinals two games back of Atlanta for the NL wild card with six games to play. Furcal has committed five errors in the last six games, all but one of them fielding miscues.