Wednesday’s Game Report: Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1

Wednesday’s Game Report: Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1

A bad trip could not have possibly had a worse ending then what happened to the Cardinals on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Jack Flaherty’s seven dominant innings against his hometown team and a sixth-inning home run from Marcell Ozuna had given the Cardinals a 1-0 lead and the hope they could salvage one game out of their five-game trip through California.

Instead, Flaherty and Ozuna could only watch as first Andrew Miller and then Carlos Martinez gave the game away in the ninth, dropping the Cardinals’ record to 1-6 since the trade deadline passed.

Miller relieved to begin the inning and got a ground out, but then hit Corey Seager with a pitch. Martinez was then summoned from the bullpen. Pinch-hitter Will Smith greeted him with a single before Martinez got a strikeout for the second out. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and Russell Martin’s groundball up the middle was able to sneak through the infield and drive in the tying and winning runs.

It was the third walk-off loss for the Cardinals this season. A trip that began last Saturday in Oakland with the Cardinals a half game in front of the Cubs in first place in the NL Central ended with a 3 ½ game deficit.

In the five losses, the Cardinals scored a total of seven runs.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Ozuna’s first home run since he returned from the injured list and 21st of the season broke up the scoreless tie in the sixth and when Flaherty retired the Dodgers in the bottom of the inning, the Cardinals had their first lead at the end of an inning in the first 42 innings of the trip … In the first four games since he returned, Ozuna’s only hit in 12 at-bats had been a single on Saturday night … The Cardinals had two chances to add to their lead but Matt Wieters flew out with runners on first and second to end the sixth and in the ninth Jose Martinez hit into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third … Matt Carpenter had two singles and walked in his first three plate appearances but had to leave the game in the ninth after he was hit by a pitch on his left foot … The Cardinals had just one hit in seven at-bats with a runner in scoring position and were a combined 4-of-28 in those situations on the trip … They did not score more than one run in any of the 45 innings on the trip.

On the mound: Pitching well and getting nothing to show for it has become all too familiar for Flaherty lately. He allowed just four hits, walked one and tied his season high with 10 strikeouts in what the bullpen turned into a no-decision instead of a win. Flaherty threw 19 first-pitch strikes to the 25 hitters he faced and allowed only one runner to reach third base, getting a ground ball to end the sixth with runners on first and third … He came out of the game after the seventh with 97 pitches …. In his last six starts, Flaherty is 1-1 with four no-decisions despite allowing a combined four runs in 38 1/3 innings, an ERA of 0.94. He has given up just 19 hits, struck out 49 and limited opponents to a .144 batting average (19 of 132) … Giovanny Gallegos protected the 1-0 lead in the eighth before the ninth-inning meltdown.

Key stat: The game ended a stretch of 11 consecutive games for the Cardinals against teams in first place at the time the series began – the Astros, Cubs, Athletics and Dodgers. The Cardinals were 3-8 in those games with two wins over the Cubs and one against the Astros. The current five-game losing streak matches the longest losing streak of the season and is their first multi-city winless trip since they lost all seven games on a trip to Chicago and Cincinnati in 2017 and was their first multi-city winless trip to California since 1960.

Worth noting: There was more bad news off the field for the Cardinals on Wednesday. Oft-injured pitcher Alex Reyes did not respond well after throwing a bullpen session earlier this week in Memphis and is headed back to St. Louis for most tests on his right pectoral muscle. Reyes had to come out of a start for the Triple A team on June 23 and has not pitched since. Earlier this year he missed a month after breaking a bone in his left hand when he punched a wall in frustration. Reyes has pitched a total of 40 1/3 innings combined between the minors and the Cardinals and it’s quite possible he won’t pitch again this season … The Cardinals confirmed on Tuesday that Yadier Molina will continue his rehab assignment on Thursday night in Springfield. He is expected to be there for at least two games.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals have the day off on Thursday before returning home to host the Pirates on a quick three-game homestand beginning Friday night. Dakota Hudson will get the start in the series opener.

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