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Cardinals @ Reds recap: Cards can't overcome early runs, drop opener 3-2

Lackey gives up 3 runs in rocky 1st inning. Grichuk triple and Carpenter home run pulled the Cards closer, but couldn't complete the comeback.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tonight the Cardinals opened a mid-week series in Cincinnati. Man of liberal seasoning in both word and deed John Lackey (2.78 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 3.94 xFIP) and Anthony DeSclafani (3.75 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 4.39 xFIP) toed the rubber.

There was some bad news as the game began:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="">@DannyMacTV</a> job security vacation turns booth over to Ricky &#39;n Al.</p>&mdash; Kevin Horrigan (@OldSport) <a href="">August 4, 2015</a></blockquote>

The Game

It was a rough opening scene for Captain Happy tonight. After allowing the first two batters to reach on singles, a Todd Frazier induced double play looked to be the start of getting out of the inning with little or no damage. But Lackey wasn't able to come up with that final out before three Reds crossed home. Doubles from Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd along with an RBI single by Eugenio Suarez provided all the runs the Reds would need tonight.

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist makes his first mound visit 25 pitches into Lackey&#39;s first inning. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) <a href="">August 4, 2015</a></blockquote>

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After that Lackey settled in and pitched pretty well.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">John Lackey has retired 14 straight since allowing two to reach in the second. <a href="">#STLCards</a> still trail, 3-2, heading into the 7th.</p>&mdash; Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) <a href="">August 5, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Heading into the 7th, Lackey was relieved by Seth Maness. The first two innings inflated his pitch count, resulting in a somewhat shortened outing. Retiring 14 straight would be how he ended his night.

Lackey: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 102 pitches. By golly, that's a quality start.

The Cards did put up a bit of a fight. In the 3rd, Viva el Birdos flashpoint Randal Grichuk tripled and Matt Carpenter launched a home run into right center to pull them to just a one-run deficit.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Estimated 430-foot homer for Matt Carpenter <a href="">#Cardinals</a> <a href="">#stlcards</a></p>&mdash; Derrick Goold (@dgoold) <a href="">August 4, 2015</a></blockquote>

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After that the Cardinals were able to get baserunners on, but were unable to string enough together to get a run across.

In the 9th, Cardinals kryptonite Aroldis Chapman threw a bunch of 137mph pitches to set down the side 1-2-3. Mark Reynolds was the only one of the three to make contact at all, a game-ending flyout.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="">#STLCards</a> have not scored against Aroldis Chapman since 09/02/2011. He has made 22 scoreless appearances against STL since then.</p>&mdash; Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) <a href="">August 5, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="350" width = "500" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="">FanGraphs</a></span>

Tomorrow night we hope for a better outcome as Tsunami Carlos Martinez (2.61 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 3.24 xFIP) and guy-on-the-Reds David Holmberg (3.00 ERA, 5.42 FIP, 4.91 xFIP) pitch. It's another one of those awful east 6:10pm Central start times, so get your libation of choice ready early.