Sunday’s Game Report: Athletics 4, Cardinals 2

Sunday’s Game Report: Athletics 4, Cardinals 2

Matt Carpenter’s return to the Cardinals lineup on Sunday did not go as well as he had hoped.

Carpenter, activated from the injured list before the game, was immediately put back into the leadoff spot, where he has struggled all season before he was injured. He led off the first inning with a single – but then was hitless in his final four at-bats as the Cardinals were swept by the Athletics in the two-game series in Oakland.

Carpenter was called out on strikes in the third, struck out swinging for the final out in the fourth, stranding two runners; flew out to left in the seventh and flew out to center in the ninth for the final out of the game.

During a nine-game rehab assignment, split between Memphis and Springfield, Carpenter had two hits in 26 at-bats, both coming on Friday night in Memphis, his final game in the minors.

The loss dropped the Cardinals 1 ½ games behind the Cubs in the NL Central.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Paul DeJong’s leadoff homer in the fourth produced the Cardinals’ first run. It was his 19th homer of the year but his first since his three-homer game in Pittsburgh on July 24. He had gone 6-of-28 in the eight games since that big night … The homer came after the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the third when Marcell Ozuna struck out. They loaded the bases without a hit, on two walks and a hit batter … An RBI single by Kolten Wong in the eighth cut the Oakland lead to 3-2, but they left the potential tying run on first base when Jose Martinez flew out to the warning track … The Cardinals had just three at-bats with a runner in scoring position and for the two games were a combined 2-of-11 with runners on second or third.

On the mound: Adam Wainwright got himself in trouble in the fourth when he hit two consecutive batters with pitches and after a groundout, gave up a two-run single to the ninth-place hitter. It’s the sixth time in his career Wainwright hit two batters in a game, the second time he had done it this year … Wainwright also allowed a home run in the sixth before coming out of the game. He walked three and struck out seven but saw his road record fall to 2-6 in 11 starts … The Athletics added their final run in the eighth when John Gant issued back-to-back walks and after a groundout advanced the runners uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch.

Key stat: The two losses in Oakland left the Cardinals 0-4 against the Athletics this season and a combined 6-10 against teams from the American League West.

Worth noting: To make room for Carpenter on the roster, first baseman Rangel Ravelo was optioned to Memphis. The Cardinals also made two pitching moves before Sunday’s game, recalling Ryan Helsley from Memphis and designating Mike Mayers for assignment. Mayers missed much of this season with a lat injury and had largely been ineffective since he returned … Tommy Edman made his first professional start in right field on Sunday, a position he also had never played in high school or college. He had only one ball hit to him, a fly ball leading off the seventh inning … Yadier Molina caught a fourth consecutive game in Memphis on Sunday in his rehab assignment.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals head to Los Angeles to open a three-game series against the Dodgers on Monday night. Michael Wacha will be making his first start since July 4.

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