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Cardinals Offense Resumes Hibernation in 6-1 Loss

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Stranded runners and Aquino’s three-run blast lead to defeat for Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cardinals lapsed back into a tie for first place in the National League Central after dropping a 6-1 contest to the Cincinnati Reds Saturday evening at Great American Ballpark. Miles Mikolas fell to 7-13 with the loss for the Cardinals while Anthony DeSclafani (8-7) earned the victory.

Mikolas and the Cardinals took the field sporting their Saturday blues, while DeSclafani started for the Reds in their 1976 home throwbacks. The Cardinals threatened DeSclafani in the first inning. Tommy Edman, hitting second in the lineup, walked on four pitches and reached third on Paul Goldschmidt’s follow-up double off the left field wall. However, DeSclafani worked around it when Marcell Ozuna’s screaming line drive landed in second baseman Freddy Galvis’ glove and Matt Wieters grounded out weakly to first baseman Josh VanMeter.

The Reds pounced on Mikolas in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter and wunderkind Nick Senzel blasted a fastball middle-in from Mikolas just over the fence for a homerun and a 1-0 Reds advantage. VanMeter then walked, but Mikolas struck out Galvis, got a line drive out from the red-hot Aristides Aquino, and coaxed Phillip Ervin into an inning-ending flyball to Edman up against the right field fence.

Matt Carpenter evened the game at 1-1 in the top half of the second with his 11th homerun of the season, and his first since June 24th. It was the Cardinals’ lone hit in the inning.

After Mikolas retired the Reds in order, Dexter Fowler led off the top of the third with a single. He advanced to second on Edman’s fly out, but the meat of the order- Goldschmidt and Ozuna- failed to drive him home. Mikolas also danced around trouble in the third, yielding a two-out walk to VanMeter and single to Galvis before Aquino popped up to end the threat. It sent the game to the fourth still knotted up at 1-1.

The Cardinals mirrored the situation with a two-out walk (Carpenter) and single (Yairo Muñoz) in the fourth before Mikolas struck out to end the threat. In the meantime, the Reds continued to cause trouble for Mikolas. Ervin opened the bottom of the fourth with a single and advanced to third on Tucker Barnhart’s single. José Iglesias brought him home with a sacrifice fly to Edman, giving the Reds a 2-1 edge. Mikolas avoided further damage on an inning-ending double play with José Peraza at the plate.

Fowler walked leading off the fifth, but was erased trying to advance to third base on Ozuna’s two-out bloop single to center field. In the bottom of the fifth, VanMeter and Galvis stung Mikolas yet again, reaching base back-to-back with two outs just as they had in the third inning. Unlike the third, Mikolas couldn’t avoid trouble this time, serving up a three-run homerun to Aquino. It was Aquino’s 11th through just 58 plate appearances. That sent the game to the sixth inning with a 5-1 Reds lead.

Lucas Sims replaced DeSclafani and struck out Wieters, but then his control waned. He walked Kolten Wong and Carpenter, then yielded a single to Muñoz that shot through a gap in the infield. With the bases juiced, skipper Mike Shildt summoned Paul DeJong to pinch hit for Mikolas (5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR allowed). DeSclafani escaped the jam by striking out DeJong and popping up Fowler to end the rally. Through six innings, the Redbirds had six hits and five walks, but just one run on Carpenter’s blast to show for it. They had yet to drive home any of the seven runners who had reached second base.

Ryan Helsley came on in place of Mikolas and mowed down the Reds in order in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Lorenzen replaced Sims for the top of the seventh, and Edman reached base against him on an error by VanMeter leading off the inning. Goldschmidt and Ozuna followed with back-to-back strikeouts. Wieters’ hard line drive was stabbed by Iglesias to end the Cardinals’ half of the seventh.

Helsley gave up a single to Lorenzen to lead off the bottom of the seventh, VanMeter smacked a one-out single to push Lorenzen to third, and he scored one batter later on Galvis’ sacrifice fly. That pushed the Reds’ lead to 6-1. Lorenzen continued to salt the game way in the eighth inning, even avoiding danger when Yairo Muñoz’s two-out drive off of the left field fence resulted in an out as Muñoz was thrown out trying to stretch a double.

Junior Fernandez relieved Helsley for the bottom of the eighth, and gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases for Senzel with two outs. However, he struck Senzel out to keep the score at 6-1. R.J. Alaniz came on in relief for the Reds and slammed the door.

The Natty Boh Player of the Game was... hell, I don’t know, Matt Carpenter? He hit a homerun and that was good, although this clip certainly comes to mind if you’re still reading:

The Cardinals will seek to earn a series split against the Reds tomorrow when they return to action at 12:10 pm CST. Jack Flaherty (6-6, 3.52 ERA) will square off with Alex Wood (1-1, 5.59).

Notes:

  • Scoring based on the author’s beverage:
    -Dogfish Head Eastern Seaboard: 1-1 tie
    -New Glarus Spotted Cow: 1-0, Reds
    -Blue Mountain Full Nelson: 3-0, Reds
    -Schlafly Apollo’s Orbit: 1-0, Reds
    -It’s not relevant to the score (as if any of these beers are actually relevant to the score), but I had a Hardywood Ruse around lunchtime. It’s not often you find a red wine barrel-aged imperial milk stout, but damn if this one wasn’t delicious. If you’re a beer dork visiting the DC/Maryland/Virginia region, you can’t go wrong with Hardywood, or frankly any brewery from Richmond.
  • Between the Cardinals in baby blue and the Reds in their 1976 uniforms with v-necks and sansabelt pants, all that was missing was astroturf and Sparky Anderson for a full disco-era flashback.
  • Fun fact: the city of Cincinnati sucks, but the much-maligned chili is good as long as you can roll with cinnamon and chocolate.
  • The Cardinals are now 1-10 with the stupid blue uniforms, so maybe it’s time to put them back in the 80s or on special throwback days where they belong.
  • This game may have sucked but I’ll leave you with a positive note. It’s not Becky Queen of Carpet, the Frederick Roofing jingle, or the Wehrenberg Theaters song, but I discovered this fun little ad released today from an awesome Polish deli close to where I live. Enjoy!