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Mikolas, bullpen falter late, Cardinals drop game two in Seattle, 5-4

The Cardinals are now seven game back of the first-place Brewers following Saturday night’s loss.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals got their customary series-opening loss out of the way on Friday night, and went to work Saturday evening looking to even up this series. Like St. Louis, Seattle has not started the season as well as they had hoped, and are fighting to get back to .500.

Here’s the St. Louis lineup, with Miles Mikolas on the bump looking for his first quality start of the season:

  1. Lars Nootbaar, RF
  2. Alec Burleson, DH
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  5. Willson Contreras, C
  6. Nolan Gorman, 2B
  7. Tyler O’Neill, LF
  8. Dylan Carlson, CF
  9. Tommy Edman, SS

Miles Mikolas - SP

And the for Seattle, with their ace on the mound:

  1. Julio Rodriguez, CF
  2. Ty France, 1B
  3. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
  4. Cal Raleigh, C
  5. Teoscar Hernandez, RF
  6. Jarred Kelenic, LF
  7. AJ Pollock, DH
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9. J.P. Crawford, SS

Luis Castillo - SP

St. Louis worked Castillo and forced his exit after just five innings, but the Seattle bullpen only gave up two hits over the final four innings as the Cardinals fell for the fourth time in their last five games. The Cardinals struck out 15 times in this game, including hat tricks for Nootbaar, Arenado, and Carlson.

Based on very quick research, the Cardinals’ 8-13 record is their worst 21-game record to start a season since 1997, when they finished 73-89.

1st Inning

St. Louis was aggressive in the first inning and scored off Castillo right away — just the third earned run he’d given up this season to that point through 31.2 innings.

Nootbaar fell behind 1-2 but then served a Castillo changeup into left field for a base knock. Burleson followed him with a base hit to center field, swinging at the very first pitch he saw from Castillo. Goldschmidt wasn’t able to drive in the run with a shallow popout into right field, but Nolan Arenado came through with a base hit into right field, scoring Nootbaar and moving Burleson to third base.

With runners on the corners and one out, the Cardinals were unable to extend the lead. Contreras struck out, Gorman drew a walk to load the bases, and O’Neill struck out with the bases loaded.

Miles Mikolas was able to work around a one-out walk in the bottom half to put up a scoreless first. Rodriguez grounded out to shortstop, and then France drew said one-out walk. Suarez — the former Cincinnati Red — flew out to center field, and Cal Raleigh (aka “The Big Dumper”) grounded out to end the inning.

2nd Inning

The Cardinals were set down in order in the top of the second. Carlson grounded out to first base, Edman flew out to center field, and Nootbaar struck out swinging.

Mikolas struck out Hernandez with a dandy of a curveball to start the inning, but a resurgent Jarred Kelenic went opposite field off Mikolas for a solo home run to tie this game at one run apiece. It was the former top prospect’s fifth homer of the season, and traveled 370 feet.

Pollock followed Kelenic with a double into the right-center field gap, giving Kolten Wong a chance to give Seattle the lead in the second inning. Wong flew out to Nootbaar in right field for out number two, but Mikolas walked Crawford after an eight-pitch battle, which gave Rodriguez a chance with two outs.

However, the Mariners’ superstar center fielder grounded out to Arenado at third, ending the inning and keeping things tied.

3rd Inning

Burleson led off the third inning with a rocket line drive single into right field — his second hit off Castillo on the night. Goldschmidt popped out to Wong in shallow right field for the second consecutive at bat for the first out, and Arenado struck out swinging. But with two outs, Castillo’s 0-2 fastball crept a bit closer to the zone than he wanted, and Contreras took it to right field for an RBI double, scoring Burleson from first.

Gorman jumped on the first pitch he saw from Castillo and hammered it into right field as well, and it one-hopped the wall for an RBI double. O’Neill flew out to right field to end the inning, with St. Louis up 3-1.

After the Cardinals put up two to extend the lead, Mikolas tossed a shutdown inning in the bottom half. France popped out, Suarez struck out looking, and Raleigh flew out to O’Neill in left field.

4th Inning

After a Carlson strikeout, Edman hit a seeing-eye single into right field. With one out, Edman stole second base (his second steal of the season), but it turned out to be irrelevant as Nootbaar worked a one-out walk. Burleson struck out for the second out of the inning, and Goldschmidt flew out to Hernandez on the warning track in right field, stranding both runners.

Hernandez led off the bottom of the fourth inning and flew out, but Kelenic tormented Mikolas once again — this time with a one-out double into right center field. Pollock looked at strike three for out number two, and Wong grounded out to Arenado at third base to end the inning.

5th Inning

Castillo’s final inning of work was a scoreless one with two strikeouts. Arenado struck out looking, Contreras flew out to the warning track, and Gorman struck out swinging.

Mikolas matched Castillo with a scoreless frame on 11 pitches — Crawford flew out to O’Neill in left, Rodriguez grounded out to Arenado at third, and France struck out.

Castillo’s final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB’s, 8 K’s (100 pitches)

6th Inning

Right-handed reliever Penn Murfee took over in the sixth inning, as the Cardinals got Castillo to 100 pitches after five innings. He did not allow a run in the sixth, as O’Neill grounded out, Carlson struck out, and Edman’s soft liner was caught by Crawford at short.

Suarez swung at the first pitch he saw from Mikolas and grounded out to short. Raleigh battled Mikolas for eight pitches, and eventually singled to right field. Teoscar Hernandez followed and got ahead of Mikolas 3-0, then took two strikes to make it a full count, then fouled one off, and then hit a 392-foot tank into the center field seats to tie the game, 3-3. It was Hernandez’s fifth homer of the season, and it ran Mikolas from the game before he had a chance to finish six frames.

Zack Thompson jogged in from the pen and promptly struck out Kelenic and got Pollock to line out to Arenado to end the inning.

Mikolas’ final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K’s (93 pitches)

7th Inning

Right-hander Matt Brash was the third Seattle pitcher to make an appearance, entering the game in the top of the seventh. He struck out Nootbaar, Goldschmidt, and Arenado with a Burleson hit by pitch mixed in as well.

Thompson returned for the seventh and started the inning by walking the left-handed hitting Kolten Wong on four pitches. Crawford followed with a single to center field, advancing Wong to second. Oli Marmol went to the mound and pulled the lefty in favor of Giovanny Gallegos, who had not pitched in five days.

Rodriguez was the first batter he faced, and the Mariners’ center fielder flew out sharply enough to center field that Wong was unable to tag up to third from second. France hit a tapper back to Gallegos on the mound, who faked a throw to third before firing over to first for the second out. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, Suarez smoked a two-run single to left, scoring Wong and Crawford to give the Mariners a 5-3 lead.

Gallegos struck out Raleigh to end the inning, but the damage was done, and the Mariners once again had a late-inning lead.

8th Inning

Right-hander Justin Topa was the fourth Seattle pitcher of the evening, and began his appearance in the eighth by serving up a leadoff single to Contreras. Contreras’ single in the eighth was his second hit in an 0-2 count during this game. Gorman followed by hitting a ground ball to Suarez at third, who fired to second to begin the 5-4-3 double play. O’Neill struck out swinging on three pitches to end the top half of the inning.

Gallegos got Hernandez to line out to Edman at shortstop, and then Marmol went to the bullpen to call on Genesis Cabrera. The move was twofold — to get a lefty against Kelenic, as well as trying to get Gallegos out of a game the Cardinals were on track to lose, so as not to burn him for tomorrow’s game, potentially.

Cabrera got Kelenic to ground out and struck out Pollock to send this game to the ninth.

9th Inning

Mariners’ closer Paul Sewald entered to shut it down and hand the Cardinals their fourth loss over their last five games.

Sewald faced Carlson first and got two called strikes just off the plate, forcing Carlson to protect the outside. This resulted in a big swing and miss at a third consecutive pitch off the plate for out number one. Edman followed and hit the first pitch he saw into the first row of seats in right field for his third home run of the season, bringing the Cardinals within one run.

Nootbaar was called out on strikes for out number two, and Burleson flew out to the warning track in center field for the final out of the game.

FINAL: Seattle 5, St. Louis 4

Up Next

The Cardinals (8-13) will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon in Seattle against the Mariners (10-11).

Right-hander Chris Flexen (0-3, 7.79 ERA) will throw for the Mariners. He took the loss earlier this week against the Brewers, yielding four earned runs over six innings. Jack Flaherty (1-2, 2.95 ERA) will start the the Cardinals. He gave up an identical four earned runs over six innings against the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

First pitch is set for 3:10 p.m.

Around the Central

Pirates 2, Reds 1

Brewers 5, Red Sox 4

Dodgers 9, Cubs 4

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MLB Pickle #409 - 5/9