If there is something far worse than plummeting out of first place losing a sixth consecutive game and dropping a doubleheader to their chief challenger the Cardinals found it in the rubble of a calamitous day at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Catcher Yadier Molina the cornerstone of the club left Tuesday’s night game with a right knee injury that will put him on the disabled list today.

It’s been that kind of road trip.

Molina did not play in the Cardinals’ 2-1 extra-inning loss in the first game of the doubleheader but he started the second game a 6-0 shutout by the Pirates. After the third inning he was removed because of soreness in the same knee that kept him out of games before the All-Star break. Molina will return to St. Louis this morning to meet with a team physician and have a second MRI scan this month taken of the joint. Molina a leading hitter in the National League and MVP-caliber catcher said he expects to miss at least 15 days.

“I tried to play through it but it was getting worse” Molina said. “The smart thing to do is to give my knee some time to rest. I did whatever I could to be on the field but right now I need time.”

For a team aching for something — anything anything at all — to go right on this road trip Molina’s injury was the biggest thing to go wrong in a day doomed by so many little glitches.