The Cardinals’ pitching staff’s streak of scoreless innings came to an end at 39 straight Sunday afternoon as St. Louis fell 4-3 to Milwaukee in 10 innings in the final game of the season-opening home stand.
“When Jaime (Garcia) pitched as well as he did,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said, “it is tough to see it end that way.”
Just like in the home opener, starting pitcher Jaime Garcia came out on the short end as the Cardinals’ bullpen was unable to hold the lead. Trevor Rosenthal and Mitchell Boggs blew the win for Garcia against Cincinnati and did again Sunday afternoon.
“Anytime you get in there and being a part of a loss, it definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Rosenthal said. “But, we are playing really well right now and I think we will be able to move on and keep pressing forward like we have been.”
After the game, Boggs admitted he did not do the job he was expected to do.
“This game was there for us to take,” Boggs said. “Jaime pitched outstanding. ... I had a chance to get the win for us, and I didn’t get the job done.”
Garcia struck out five and walked a pair while scattering seven hits over seven shutout innings. He left with a 3-0 lead after throwing 98 pitches, only to watch as the pen gave the game away.
“His pitch count was already high,” Matheny said. “He wasn’t going to be able to go the full game. He was coming up to bat and we were still trying to put the pressure on offensively. I had enough signs that it looked like he was at the end.”
The Brewers (3-8), who came into the game having not scored in 25 straight innings, extended that streak to 32 before Ryan Braun ended both teams’ streaks with a two-run homer to left field that just cleared the fence. Braun’s blast traveled 349 feet.
In the top of the ninth, Boggs failed to close out the save as he allowed a lead-off single to Carlos Gomez and then a double to Yuniesky Betancourt to tie the game at 3-3. After a sacrifice bunt by Logan Schafer moved Yuniesky Betancourt to third and the Cardinals still failed to record an out, Matheny pulled Boggs.
“When you have a one-run lead, there is less margin for error,” Boggs said. “I let the first guy get on base and it made it that much harder. I just didn’t execute. Tip your hat to Gomez, he hit a tough pitch and I have to be better than that.”
Page 2 of 2 - Repeating what he said following Monday’s loss, Matheny is not ready to make a change in the back end of the bullpen.
“We just walked off the field,” Matheny said. “I don’t think we are in one position right now to say one thing or another, but we always keep the options open. We will see when we get that next opportunity.”
Randy Choate and Edward Mujica combined to get the next three hitters and end the Brewers’ threat.
The Cardinals were three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.
In the tenth, Fernando Salas (0-2) took over on the mound. He got Rickie Weeks to fly out, but then served up a 407 foot homer to Jonathan Lucroy to left center. That home run turned out to be the game winner.
Milwaukee used three pitchers in the bottom of the tenth. Brandon Kintzler, who pitched a perfect ninth inning, got the win while Burke Badenhop picked up his first save of the year.
Offensively, the Cardinals (7-5) had eight hits, four of which came consecutively with two outs in the bottom of the third. St. Louis did not record a hit after the seventh. Its only base runners after the seventh were from a pair of walks to pinch hitter David Freese and Matt Holliday in the bottom of the tenth. Both were left stranded when pinch hitter Carlos Beltran grounded out to short to end the game.
The Cardinals’ offense came in the third and fourth innings. St. Louis got two runs in the third and one in the fourth.
With two outs in the third, St. Louis got a ground rule double from third baseman Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday followed with an RBI single. Allen Craig then singled, putting runners on first and second. That brought Yadier Molina to the plate and he didn’t disappoint.
Molina drilled a double that scored Holliday, but Craig was thrown out at home trying to score all the way from first to end the inning.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, rookie first baseman Matt Adams crushed a ball 419 feet to dead center for the Redbirds’ final run of the game.
“He did a great job,” Matheny said. “He is not a secret anymore. People know that he is a weapon and we continue to put him into spots where he can be successful.”
St. Louis went 4-2 during the six-game home stand, bookending the four wins with the two losses. The Redbirds will now head to Pittsburgh where they will kick off a three-team, 10-day road trip against the Pirates, the Phillies, and the Nationals.