After winning a nearly five-hour struggle the night before, the Cardinals had little Sunday for well-traveled Philadelphia Phillies righthander Jerome Willliams. Their own starter, Justin Masterson, had little or nothing for the Phillies either, and the result was a 7-1 loss that cost the Cardinals a chance to clinch a series against second-division opposition.

One of the few positives was a stout relief outing by lefthanded rookie Nick Greenwood after Masterson had been peppered for five runs in three innings as he dropped to 2-2 with the Cardinals. The 2013 All-Star acquired from Cleveland has permitted four or more runs in four of his first five Cardinals starts after coming off the Indians’ disabled list, where he had landed with right knee inflammation.

Masterson is slated for a start Saturday in one game of a doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs in St. Louis. But if that doesn’t go any better, the staff will have to reconsider his spot in the rotation in the September stretch.

It went downhill from the beginning for Masterson (6-8), who walked leadoff man Ben Revere to start the game. Revere was No. 2 in the National League batting race when the day began, but he hadn’t walked in 171 plate appearances since July 5.

What followed over the next three innings was a smorgasbord of six hits, five of them singles, and two wild pitches. With his team down by five runs, manager Mike Matheny could go no longer with Masterson.