Entering Friday night’s game, the St. Louis Cardinals were losers of three straight games, and have struggled mightily with runners in scoring position (RISP). Earlier in the night, National League Central division rival Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs both lost, giving the Cardinals a chance to keep a big lead in the division.
But unfortunately, another good pitching performance by a Cardinals starter was wasted, and the San Diego Padres kept the Cardinals slump going by winning 2-1.
The starters for the evening’s game were Michael Wacha (10-3, 2.77) for the Cardinals, and Andrew Cashner (3-9, 4.22) for the Padres.
In the first inning, aside from a single allowed by Wacha to veteran Matt Kemp, nothing notable had occurred. As the game extended into the fourth inning, the score remained scoreless at 0-0, and, more importantly for the Padres, Cashner had a perfect game going.
However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, third baseman Matt Carpenter lined a single into centerfield, breaking up the perfect game, as well as the no-hitter, for Cashner.
Despite reaching base, the Cardinals left Carpenter stranded, and the game remained scoreless.
During the bottom of the fifth inning, Jason Heyward led off with a single. A successful hit-and-run with catcher Yadier Molina sent Heyward to third base with no one out and Randal Grichuk at the plate. Grichuk was then walked, loading the bases for Xavier Scruggs. While Scruggs grounded into a double play, Heyward scored to put the Cardinals ahead 1-0.
That turned out to be the only run they could muster up for the evening.
Both Cashner and Wacha threw quality starts on Friday night, both going to the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jedd Gyroko led off with a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1. Will Venable then popped out, Clint Barmes grounded out, and Cashner struck out swinging to end the inning.
Kevin Siegrist was brought in to pitch the top of the eighth inning in relief of Wacha.
Wacha’s final line for the evening: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks.
Siegrist meanwhile, threw a shutout inning to send the game to the bottom of the eighth inning. Brandon Maurer was in the game still after coming in for Cashner during the middle of the seventh, but Joaquin Benoit immediately entered to relieve Maurer.
The inning started with Scruggs getting hit by a pitch, putting a runner on with no outs. Peter Bourjos was brought into the game to pinch run for Scruggs. Bourjos followed by stealing second base, his first steal since April 28th against the Phillies.
Tommy Pham, another top player within the Cardinals organization, and who was just called up as Tim Cooney headed back down to Memphis, grounded out, sending Bourjos to third. With a runner on third and one out, Greg Garcia struck out swinging, and Kolten Wong flied out to left field, ending the threat, and the Cardinals scoring chance.
Trevor Rosenthal entered for the Cardinals to pitch the top of the ninth. After a triple by Yangervis Solarte, Gyroko struck again, scoring Solarte to make it 2-1 Padres. Craig Kimbrel entered the game for the Padres to close out the game, and he did exactly that, as the Cardinals once again lost at home, something they rarely had done since this losing streak began.
The Cardinals are now 51-28, and the Padres are now 39-43.
Tomorrow, Carlos Martinez will get the start as the Cardinals try to end their recent slump.
(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)