Tuesday’s Game Report: Athletics 7, Cardinals 3
By Rob Rains
On the first night since the Cardinals learned they will be without their closer, Jordan Hicks, for at least the rest of this season and most of next, they didn’t have to worry about who would pitch the ninth inning.
And not for a good reason.
Starter Jack Flaherty, mired in a slump that has seen him go seven consecutive starts without a win, gave up a career-high seven runs as the Athletics won the opener of a two-game series on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals learned during Monday’s day off that an MRI showed Hicks had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, requiring surgery. Carlos Martinez will inherit the closer’s role, but on Tuesday night he didn’t even have to worry about warming up.
Given a 3-1 lead, Flaherty could not get through the fifth inning, when the A’s sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs, two after Flaherty had come out of the game.
Stephen Piscotty, playing his first game in St. Louis since he was traded to Oakland, had an RBI single during that inning.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: After scoring a combined two runs in the first four innings of their previous seven games, the Cardinals put up three runs in the second, the biggest hit a two-run triple by Matt Carpenter on a fly ball misplayed by center fielder Ramon Laureano. Paul DeJong then drove in Carpenter with a ground-rule double … Those were the only two hits by the Cardinals in 12 at-bats with a runner in scoring position … They had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth befoew Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina struck out to end the game … Marcell Ozuna reached base four times on two hits and two walks … Kolten Wong stole his 14th base of the year and has not been caught stealing. As a team the Cardinals have stolen 32 bases since May 9 and been thrown out only twice.
On the mound: Flaherty allowed nine hits, which tied the most he has allowed in a game in his career. Three of the hits were home runs, increasing his season total to 18. He is now tied with three other pitchers for the most home runs allowed in the NL this season, and his total is only two less than he allowed for the entire 2018 season … John Brebbia relieved Flaherty and allowed both of his inherited runners to score before getting out of the inning … The combination of Brebbia, Dominic Leone and Tyler Webb retired the last 13 Oakland batters in a row.
Key stat: The Cardinals have gone 3-7 in Flaherty’s last 10 starts. His only win since April 28 came on May 14, a 14-3 win over the Braves. In those 10 starts he has gone 1-4 with five no-decisions, three of which came in 10-inning games.
Worth noting: Dr. George Paletta will perform the Tommy John surgery on Hicks on Wednesday. Since he is a reliever and not a starter, there is optimism that Hicks could return before the end of next season, depending on the speed of his recovery and rehab. “I guess you have to look at it as a pitcher these days it’s part of the business,” said John Mozeliak, the team president of baseball operations … The other injury update from Mozeliak on Tuesday concerned Alex Reyes, who had to come out of his start Sunday night for Memphis because of a pectoral strain. Mozeliak said he was not “overly concerned” and expects Reyes will miss two or three starts … The Cardinals put Hicks on the injured list and optioned Genesis Cabrera to Memphis, recalling Daniel Ponce de Leon and Leone … Two more injured relievers, Ryan Helsley and Mike Mayers, are scheduled to begin rehab assignments on Wednesday night in Memphis … Nolan Gorman hit his first homer on Tuesday night since the Cardinals top prospect was promoted from Peoria to Palm Beach last week. Overall it’s his 11th homer of the season.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will make his third career start against the Athletics in the final game of the series and the homestand on Wednesday night. Wainwright’s other two starts came in 2010 and 2013.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains