The St. Louis Cardinals lost a series for just the fourth time this season, but what was even rarer was that the Cardinals were swept, dropping three straight to the Texas Rangers. St. Louis latest loss was by a 2-1 margin after a 2 hour and 59 minute rain delay. The last time St. Louis was swept in a series was on September 10-12 when the Redbirds lost a three-game set to the Padres in San Diego last season.
“It feels like we are the Seattle Cardinals instead of the St. Louis Cardinals,” St. Louis starting pitcher Adam Wainwright said of dealing with another rain delay. “This is the rainiest first half of the season I have ever been a part of, no doubt. We are professionals and we have to find a way to get the job done no matter what.”
Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny agreed with the strange weather that the Cardinals have been getting.
“It’s odd,” Matheny said. “We don’t normally go through a season like this. It is different, but our guys they figured out how to get through it and we had a chance to win today. … They just outplayed us this series.”
The Cardinals mustered up seven hits in the game with a pair coming in each of the fifth and sixth innings. The Cardinals had one in the eight and two more in the ninth.
David Freese broke up Nick Tepesch’s no-hit bid with a one-out single in the fifth. Jon Jay followed with an infield single, but both runners were left stranded when Pete Kozma struck out and Adam Wainwright grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The Cardinal’s other two hits came in the sixth. Matt Carpenter led off the frame with his sixth home run of the season, a 394 foot shot that briefly gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead.
After Carlos Beltran struck out, Matt Holliday walked and Allen Craig singled to give the Cardinals their second second straight inning with runners on first and second with one out. However, just like the inning before, it was all for not as Yadier Molina flied out to center and Freese grounded out to third to end the threat.
After getting a pair of singles in the ninth with one out in the ninth off Rangers’ closer Joe Nathan, Daniel Descalso hit into a 5-4 double play to end the game.
“Our guys are always trying to put together a good at bat,” Matheny said. “They realize when (Texas’) closer comes in, they had better be on top of their game and we put together a couple of good at bats.”
Carpenter as the only Cardinal hitter to reach base multiple times as he finished the game 2-for-3 with a homer, a single, and a walk.
On the hill, Wainwright was far from perfect, but he was still effective over his first six full innings of work. However, Wainwright was unable to get out of the seventh inning and that is when Texas took the lead.
The Rangers’ David Murphy doubled off the wall with two outs in the seventh and then scored one batter later when Leonys Martin came up with an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
“I have got to tip my hat to Murphy,” Wainwright said. “A 3-2 count and he stays back on a curveball and he hits it off the wall. That is a pretty good job of hitting right there. And then Martin battled me for seven pitches in a row so, I tip my hat to him to. They both put good swings on me.”
“It was two pretty stressful innings in a row,” Matheny said. “Their team put together a good at bat. Waino was making good pitches all the way through and kept fighting but (Martin) ended up putting together a good enough at bat to put a run across the plate. He did a great job for us tonight, Waino did.”
That was the last batter Wainwright faced as Matheny brought Trevor Rosenthal in.
“It was a tricky call,” Matheny said. “But, after he has labored like we said, he had over 20 pitches in that inning.”
Wainwright disagreed with his manager’s assessment of him laboring.
“He’s wrong,” Wainwright said. “I hate to – you don’t want to call your manager out and I would never do that, but laboring is not what I was doing. But, he is the manager and he makes the call.
“If you think I am laboring because I went into deep counts,” Wainwright continued, “I went into deep counts all day. I made good pitches, but that is his opinion.”
However, on what should have been the third out of the inning, Pete Kozma let a line drive from Jurickson Profar bounce off his glove for an error that put runners on first and second. Ian Kinsler then broke the tie with a run scoring single before Rosenthal struck out Elvis Andrus to end the inning.
“He has does a really nice job for us and made all the plays,” Matheny said of Kozma. “He is pretty hard on himself already. I know that that play hurts him because that play ended up being the one that made the difference.”
Wainwright (10-5) surrendered six hits and a walk over 6.2 innings of work while allowing two runs, one of which was unearned. He threw 105 pitched and finished the night with six strike outs, including striking out the side in the fourth.
“I felt good today,” Wainwright said. “I was attacking hitters and even when I got behind in the count, which I did too many times today, I was able to make pitches when I needed to for the most part.”
With the loss, the Cardinals lead in the National League Central shrank to one-game over second place Pittsburgh. The Cardinals will be off today before starting a brief two-game road trip in Houston on Tuesday.